Consumer confidence in the UK declined steeply in July, as people’s expectations for the economy over the next 12 months also fell. The Gfk NOP index of optimism fell for the second month in a row, down five points to a negative reading of 30, close to its lowest levels for 2011. All five measures of the index fell, with a gauge of people’s expectations for the economy in the coming year showing the biggest decline. Before this year, the index has only twice been lower in its 37-year history. Nick Moon, managing director of Gfk NOP social research, said that confidence had returned to the depths of the first quarter of this year. He said: “It's becoming clear that May's positive surge was the exception rather than the norm, as we return to -30 - wiping out almost all of May's rise.” The figures followed the latest report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which showed that retail sales volume decreased further in July, to the weakest level since June 2010.