Good morning and welcome to our rolling live coverage of the economy, economy and financial markets.
The cost of living crisis has pushed UK consumer confidence to its lowest level since the pandemic as rising food and energy bills hit families.
As a new report from PwC shows this morning, there has been a “significant and prolonged slump in consumer sentiment,” resulting in the biggest loss of confidence in a year since the global financial crisis.
Its UK consumer confidence index fell to -20 this month from +10 last summer. That’s barely above the -26 recorded at the start of the pandemic two years ago.
PwC warns that this dramatic decline shows the impact the cost of living crisis is having across the UK.
Lisa Hooker, industry leader for consumer markets, PwC United Kingdomsays:
“This shift in sentiment is both significant and sudden as consumer expectations move toward more material areas at the expense of consumer staples. Companies that help customers by giving them options to trade down are more likely to stick with them when things get better.”
The 30-point drop over the past nine months is the largest sustained drop in PwC’s survey since the 2008 global financial crisis, as households face the greatest pressure in decades.
Energy bills have just skyrocketed and could do so again in October, while food price inflation is the fastest in 10 years.
More details to come…..
Also arrives today
Eurozone finance ministers will discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on European economies when they hold a Eurogroup meeting today, as pressure mounts for a ban on Russian gas imports.
They will also discuss how a digital euro could be designed and the trade-offs between data protection and preventing money laundering, illegal financing and tax evasion.
European stock markets opened slightly higher despite concerns about rising inflation, slowing growth and the fallout from the Ukraine war.
- 7am BST: Germany trade balance for February
- 10.05am BST: Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England: Speech at the Stop Scams Conference
- From 2pm BST: Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg.
- 3pm BST: Bank of England Deputy Governor Sir Jon Cunliffe addresses a seminar at the European Economic and Financial Center
- 3pm BST: US factory orders for February