A survey for the European Commission, undertaken by German research group GfK, shows British consumers in bullish mood despite current global economic woes.

The consumer confidence indicator measured during May showed a sharp rise on the preceding month – up from minus 14 percentage points to minus eight, with consumption growth and economic optimism remaining solid.

This bucks the downward trend in the nation’s business confidence and may, some observers believe, be due to the playing-down of economic problems by politicians during the UK general election campaign.

Nevertheless, the studiously apolitical governor of the Bank of England, ‘Steady’ Eddie George – or Sir Edward as he is now known – told a London business seminar yesterday: “The recent, somewhat erratic, recovery of US stock markets from their earlier gloom suggests they are beginning to side with the optimists”.

Sir Eddie also defended the European Central Bank following criticism from politicians and others that it had not reacted to the global economic slowdown with US-style interest rate cuts in rapid succession: “Frankly, I don't see how anyone can be confident whether the ECB has it right or wrong,” said the governor.

News source: Financial Times