Irish Consumer Sentiment Hits Strongest Level Since February 2016
Confidence about the general economic outlook among Irish consumers rose in July with the consumer sentiment index produced jointly by ESRI and KBC Bank hitting the strongest level since February 2016...
Confidence about the general economic outlook among Irish consumers rose in July with the consumer sentiment index produced jointly by ESRI and KBC Bank hitting the strongest level since February 2016, reported Irishtimes.com
The index grew to 105.1 last month, effectively unchanged from the previous month’s reading of 105. However, the marginal increase -which is not statistically significant- means last month’s results were the strongest in over a year.
Irishtimes.com noted that the positive Irish sentiment due to summer sales and holiday spending contrasts with weaker results for comparable surveys elsewhere. According to KBC Bank chief economist Austin Hughes, consumers have braced themselves for more difficult economic times after the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in the United States.
Overall, Hughes described the latest index reading as an ‘encouraging result’. However, he warned that the consumer sentiment may be weakened in the coming months because of the onset of back to school and other seasonal costs, coupled with efforts to downplay the scope for positive news in the upcoming budget.
While consumers were confident about the general economic outlook, they were slightly more cautious about their personal finances than in previous months, according to the index.
“The details of the Irish sentiment survey for July show consumers are still cautious about their personal finances but a little more likely to spend,” said Hughes. “We think this is part of the ‘new normal’ for Irish consumers where there may be a willingness to hunt for bargains in the sales and to spend on travel but continuing pressure on household finances means the onus is very much on careful rather than conspicuous consumption.”
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