Saturday 10 December 2016

Uncertainty over Brexit forces dip in consumer confidence here

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 03/08/2016 | 12:18

Enda Kenny and Theresa May in Downing Street in July. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Enda Kenny and Theresa May in Downing Street in July. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA

THE uncertainty surrounding Brexit forced a dip in consumer confidence, new figures for last month show.

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Households are worried that Britain leaving the EU will impact on their finances, the KBC Bank/ERSI consumer sentiment index shows.

This prompted consumers to sharply mark down their assessment of how the economy will do in the next few months.

The index fell, but that not as much as had been feared.

In July, the index fell to 99.6 from 103.4 in June.

KBC Bank economist Austin Hughes said the fall was due to fears over the impact of Brexit.

But he said the 3.8 percentage point drop was smaller than the monthly declines in March and May.

“It is not surprising that Irish consumer sentiment weakened in July in the wake of the UK referendum on EU membership, but the relatively limited drop in the sentiment index is probably a better outcome than might have been feared.”

Mr Hughes said there were many uncertainties about the Brexit process. But consumers don’t seem to regard it as posing a clear or immediate threat to their purchasing power. 

“As a result, last month’s headline figure suggests consumers have become a little more cautious although they remain reasonably positive about the future.”

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