The UK economy is very weak, next week’s numbers will show. The CBI is likely to report that manufacturers’ order books are low and that firms expect output to fall in the next three months. And official figures will show that retail sales fell in January. Although they might not be much down on a year ago this is likely to be due in large part to a 60 per cent jump in online sales in this period.

We might, though, get good news about consumers from GfK’s survey, Although it will show that overall consumer confidence is depressed, this is largely due to expectations for the overall economy. Households are much more optimistic about their personal finances. As they are more knowledgeable

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