Tuesday 20 March 2018

Consumer confidence drops as new year sales end

Colm Heatley

Consumer confidence fell in February after New Year sales ended and households remained "gloomy" on the economic outlook.

The consumer sentiment index fell to 59.4 from a two-year high of 64.6 in January, KBC Ireland and the Economic & Social Research Institute in Dublin said today. That compares with the measure’s 14-year average of 91.8.

Ireland is showing signs of emerging from the recession however. The pace of job losses has slowed and a report last month showed that the construction industry shrank at its slowest pace in five months in January.

“Consumers are still fairly gloomy on the outlook for the Irish economy,” KBC Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said in a statement. While they are “less terrified, there’s a strong awareness that conditions will remain very tough for the foreseeable future.”

Hughes said consumers’ assessment of the “buying climate” declined as stores ended discounts and bills related to Christmas spending arrived.

The measure of how consumers view their current situation fell to 78.8 in February from 87.7 in January, according to the survey. The gauge of consumers’ expectations fell to 46.3 from 49.


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