Consumer confidence now at a seven-year high
Consumers are feeling more confident, leading to hopes that they will get back to spending more in the economy.
The consumer confidence index rose marginally last month and is now at a seven-year high.
The index, produced by KBC Bank and the Economic and Social Research Institute, increased to 85.5 in February.
The last time the index was at this level was in May 2007, just as the economic crash was impacting the economy.
KBC Bank economist Austin Hughes said the trend in sentiment suggests consumers are increasingly confident that the Irish economy is emerging from the extreme difficulties of recent years.
“This largely reflects a gradual easing in fears. So, the rise in the index is primarily the result of a reduction in the negative influences on sentiment rather than the emergence of an array of extremely positive factors boosting confidence,” Mr Hughes said.
But he said the sentiment index would have to rise a good deal further to signal an environment in which Irish consumers feel able and willing to spend more freely.