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Four of the five measures used in GFK’s consumer confidence index fell in April, further eroding the overall index ahead of June’s snap general election.

The index dropped one point to -7 in April, with worries over both personal and general economic prospects weighing on consumer confidence.

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has decreased by one point this month to +1, which is two points lower than this time last year.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has decreased one point this month to +2 – some five points lower than April 2016.

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has decreased two points to -23, while expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have dropped one point in April to -21.

Only the major purchase index increased one point this month to +7 during the month.

Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said: “In the face of widespread reports of rampant inflation, stagnating wages and anxiety over our borrowing binge, UK consumer confidence is surprisingly stable.

“Although the overall index score remains in negative territory, and has dipped this month, we have not seen any evidence of the predicted post-Trigger downturn, despite high levels of concern about the general economic situation of the country. Consumers continue to remain positive about the state of their personal finances and even report that now is a good time to buy.

“But is this too good to be true? Is this simply the calm before the storm? Is pre-Brexit economic turbulence yet to really batter households? That threat cannot be ruled out. But for the moment, consumer sentiment remains relatively buoyant as we enter our two-year window of renegotiation and navigate the run-up to the general election.”

Morning update

The Grocer also has the story this morning that Tate & Lyle Sugars is pinning turnaround hopes on a new post-Brexit regulatory approach to sugar imports after blaming the EU for another annual trading loss.

T&L Sugars, separate from the listed sucralose producer Tate & Lyle plc, cut its annual loss in the year to 25 September 2016 to €4.6m from €24.5m in the previous financial year. Nevertheless, it said EU sugar policies make it “uncompetitive” and its annual losses were “as a direct result of these policies”.

Tate & Lyle claims the EU discriminates against cane sugar refiners by limiting the number of companies they can source from while at the same time subsidising rival sugar beet producers in many EU companies.

See here for full story

Also this morning, news has emerged that Marks & Spencer (MKS) is to trial a food delivery service. See this morning’s Media Bites for more.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is down another 0.3% to 7,214.6pts.

Morrisons (MRW) is one of the FTSE 100’s biggest risers, up 1.2% so far to 237.3p, but trading is subdued across most other major grocery/fmcg stocks with Imperial Brands (IMB) down 0.9% to 3,785.5p, Diageo (DGE), down 0.9% to 2,235.5p and British American Tobacco (BATS) down 0.9% to 5,189.3p.

Other notable fallers include Devro (DVO), down 4.6% to 197.9p and Greencore Group (GCN), down 2.4% to 223.5p. Risers include Crawshaw (CRAW), up 2.1% to 30.1p, PureCircle (PURE), up 2% to 326.5p and Hotel Chocolat (HOTC), up 1.4% to 342.3p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 ended its strong run this week by dropping 0.7% to 7,237.2pts – though the index remains around 1.6% higher than the start of trading on Monday.

There were some notable fmcg fallers during the day, led by British American Tobacco (BATS), down 1.3% to 5,236p, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), down 1.3% to 7,194p and Unilever (ULVR), down 1% to 3,968.5p.

Also falling were Greggs (GRG), down 1.5% to 1,074p, Premier Foods (PFD), down 1,7% to 43p and Science in Sport (SIS), down 1.8% to 81.5p.

Packaging firm DS Smith (SMDS) dropped 0.7% to 432.8p despite reassuring investors it was on target to hit full year targets and the integration of acquisitions was progressing smoothly.

Crawshaw Group (CRAW), jumped back up 15.7% after a share price plunge on Wednesday following the investment from Boparan Private Holdings. Crawshaw wiped out that fall rebounding to 29.5p.

Other notable risers included Devro (DVO), up 5% to 207.5p and C&C Group (CCR) up 2.7% to €3.81.

Tesco (TSCO) ended the day up 1.1% to 182.5p, while there were also rises at SSP Group (SSPG), up 1.2% to 445.2p and Cranswick (CWK) up 1.8% to 2,675p.