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Consumers unexpectedly grow in confidence for fourth month in a row

CONSUMERS have grown in confidence about their economic prospects for the fourth consecutive month.

The rise in the consumer sentiment index in April took commentators by surprise as it was the first time since early 2007 that the index increased for four months in succession.

KBC Bank Ireland and the Economic and Social Research Index said the consumer sentiment index went from 60.6 in March to 62.5 last month.

Any reading over 50 in the index, which looks at current and future economic prospects, indicates a growth in confidence.

But KBC Bank economist Austin Hughes cautioned against concluding that Irish consumers were ready to start spending again.

"We remain a considerable distance from conditions in which a 'feelgood factor' might emerge," he said.

The survey also found that one in two consumers was anxious that unemployment would increase over the next 12 months.

Irish Independent