Friday 23 February 2018

Consumer confidence takes bashing over Budget 2013 fears

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

THE confidence of consumers has taken a dive over fears the looming Budget will again bash household finances, the upcoming property tax and rising energy costs.

The consumer sentiment index fell sharply in September despite a strong rise in August.

Economists said this showed how fragile the improvement in the confidence of consumers has been this year.

Figures released at mid-day show that the consumer sentiment index produced by KBC Bank and think tank the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) fell to 60.2 after hitting a high 70 in August.

KBC Bank’s Austin Hughes said the change may over-state the change in the mood of consumers.

“There is little doubt that confidence amongst Irish consumers weakened significantly last month. We think this reflects a number of factors,” he said.

He added that the fear factor for consumers had returned.

“For most of the past nine months, the improvement in sentiment reflected a gradually broadening view that the worst might be over. The September survey results suggest consumers are no longer sure that is the case.”

Mr Hughes called on the Government to set out what it planned for the Budget to reduce uncertainty among householders.

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