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UK Households Signal Strain On Finances

A measure of UK household finance remained unchanged in November and continued to signal a negative assessment, data from IHS Markit showed on Monday.

The household finance index remained unchanged at 44.4 in November, same as in October, remaining indicative of a negative assessment towards current finances by households. The latest reading was the joint-highest since January.

Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement and readings below 50.0 show deterioration.

A measure reflecting the outlook for financial health over the coming 12 months also remained stuck in downbeat territory in November.

Those employed in retail and manufacturing sectors reported a negative outlook towards job security. Meanwhile, the growth of both incomes from employment and workplace activity was registered in November.

The living cost in November increased further, but the rate of growth was the weakest in ten months. The inflationary pressure for the next 12 months was expected, although the expected rise in living cost dropped to the weakest since May.

The UK households expect the Bank of England to increase the interest rate. The survey showed that 79 percent of households expect a rate hike as the central bank's next move and 58 percent expect that to happen within the next year.

The most notable shift was seen at the shorter horizon, where the percentage expecting a rise within the next three months falling by four percentage points, the central bank said.

"UK households are still concerned about job security and spending on big ticket purchases such as cars and holidays are being put on the back burner," Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, said.

That said, households face numerous uncertainties ahead, namely a general election and the continued ambiguity surrounding Brexit, the economist said.

"Moreover, hesitant financial sentiment in November
provides an early warning that high street footfall will
remain subdued in the run up to the crucial festive
spending period," Hayes added.

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