Sunday 18 March 2018

Consumer sentiment improved in April - survey

Austin Hughes, chief economist KBC Bank.
Austin Hughes, chief economist KBC Bank.

Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor

THERE has been a slight improvement in how householders view their personal financial situation.

New figures out this afternoon show that consumer sentiment rose fractionally in April.

And there was a marginal rise in the view of consumers of their personal finances.

The KBC Bank/ESRI consumer sentiment index rose to 98.7 in April, up from 97.8 in March.

It was the third monthly rise in the past four months, although still below the high point the index hit in January.

The figures come as new Central Statistics Office figures show that the standardised unemployment rate was 10pc in April, unchanged from the rate in March.

KBC Bank’s Austin Hughes said both elements of the sentiment survey that relate to trends in personal finances improved in April.

"Our sense is that this may be driven by the combination of negative consumer price inflation that is boosting purchasing power and significant housing price inflation that is encouraging a positive ‘wealth effect’ for many households,” he said.

Mr Hughes said that the current readings don’t suggest any great expectations of a broadly-based increase in consumers’ incomes through 2015.

This means the trend in the sentiment survey through the coming year could be increasingly influenced by consumers’ perceptions as to how attractive or affordable various pre-election policy proposals may be.



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