The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index recorded a rise last month for the first time since October last year. Despite a gloomy economic outlook, the index increased from 41 in January to 43 in February.
The surprise jump has been attributed to rising optimism amongst consumers about future economic and labour market conditions.
Confidence about the present conditions is not as high; the present situation index dropped for the eighth consecutive month against a backdrop of bad economic news and jobs losses.
Confidence in spending remained resilient, up seven points from January to 92. "Consumers' views about the current economic and labour market conditions are in line with the recessionary climate in the UK," said Fionnuala Earley, chief economist. "However, their increased optimism about the future is encouraging."
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