By Claire West

The GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index increased by four points this month to -18. This is the first time since February that we have seen the overall confidence level increase.

August saw increases for confidence in their personal financial situation over the last 12 months, confidence in their personal financial situation over the next 12 months, confidence in the "general economy” over the last 12 months and confidence in the "general economy” in the next 12 months.

The ‘major purchase Index’ was the only measure to decrease this month by four points, and is now -20.

Nick Moon, MD of GfK NOP Social Research, comments: "Overall consumer confidence has been in constant decline for the last five months and a further fall would have made a double-dip recession seem a very real prospect. The government will undoubtedly read these figures with a great deal of relief.

"The single biggest improvement has been in confidence in the economy over the next 12 months and this looks particularly encouraging on first sight. However, this gain merely reverses a similarly large drop in July and in reality confidence in the economy’s future prospects remains below its June level and similar to May 2009 when we were still in the grips of a recession.”