Financial pressure on households weighs on consumer confidence
PRESSURE on the personal finances of households has impacted on the mood of consumers.
The consumer sentiment index fell marginally in March, despite a modestly positive trend.
The squeeze on personal finance from the likes of the property tax continues to hold back the “feel-good factor”, according to the latest KBC Bank/Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) consumer sentiment index.
But the trend is for a modest improvement in the index, economist Austin Hughes of KBC Bank said.
The KBC Bank/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index slipped to 83.1 in March from the near seven-year high of 85.5 posted in February.
Last month’s drop was the first since November.
Mr Hughes said: “The fall is likely to reflect the normal ebb and flow that might be expected in these data in the absence of an overwhelming force pushing sentiment in one or other direction. It remains the case that the broad trend in sentiment is positive of late.”
The pick-up in sentiment through the past year primarily reflects an easing in fears in relation to the Irish economy which has begun to feed through to the expectation of stronger household finances and thereby supported the buying climate, Mr Hughes added.