Business Irish

Saturday 24 March 2018

Consumer outlook on economy improves

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

CONSUMERS were slightly more pessimistic about their household finances in October but their outlook on the economy has improved.

Concerns about December’s budget was blamed for causing worry among hard-pressed households, as well as hikes in electricity and gas which came into effect this month.

By contrast, encouraging reports on Ireland’s economic progress and tentative signs that the housing market was stabilising left people a little more optimistic that the economy was on the up.

The KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index recorded just a slight increase as the positive views were offset by household financial concerns.

The index rose fractionally to 60.9 in October from 60.2 in September.

“The relative stability of the Consumer Sentiment Index in October may also reflect a slightly less threatening newsflow in terms of possible Budget measures mooted during the survey period,” according to the KBC/ESRI data.

“That is not to say that Irish consumers have become less worried of late.

“Indeed the two elements of the sentiment survey concerned with household finances weakened marginally further in October.”

The marginal increase in the Irish index contrasted with a strong rise in the comparable indicator of US consumer sentiment compiled by the University of Michigan.

The mood of US consumers improved to its best level in five years in October.

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