By Daniel Hunter

Consumer confidence was up in January according to the Nationwide consumer confidence index.

The index rose by 9 points to 47 in January, and despite this being some 30 points below average, it is a marked increase from December's reading.

Improved industry surveys for the manufacturing and service sectors last month and a sharp fall in inflation may have lifted consumers' spirits, the lender said.

"Looking forward, renewed hope that the UK will avoid a double-dip recession may support sentiment, especially since the downward trend in inflation is set to continue through 2012," Robert Gardner, Nationwide chief economist, said.

The positive survey, coupled with the Bank of England's forecast, predicting that there is a severely reduced risk of recession, all point to the fact the UK economy is heading in the right direction.

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