Poor figures underline collapse in Irish consumer confidence
LAST week's consumer confidence figures weren't bad -- they were dreadful.
Confidence is now on a par with the all-time low reached in mid-2008 when the full extent of our economic problems first began to dawn on a shocked Irish public.
According to the consumer confidence index, which is compiled by the ESRI and KBC Ireland, more than three times as many Irish consumers are pessimistic rather than positive about their current situation and future prospects. The survey results confirm fears that the December 2010 budget has further depressed already low levels of consumer confidence.
Even more worrying than the December figures is the long-run trend in consumer confidence levels, which have now fallen for each of the past six months. This indicates that the brief rally in consumer confidence experienced in the first half of 2010 has now fizzled out.
For the government, which is relying on strong economic growth to make its four-year budgetary plan work, the index will make for grim reading. Unless consumers can be persuaded to spend, any hope that the budget deficit will fall to 3 per cent of GDP by 2014 or 2015 will have to be put on hold.
Sunday Indo Business