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Sunday 21 January 2018

Consumers optimistic about economy and jobs but cautious on household finances - survey

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

CONSUMERS are continuing to feel optimistic about the outlook for the economy and jobs.

But they are a little more cautious about their household finance, a new survey shows.

The KBC Bank/ESRI consumer sentiment index slipped fractionally to 98.5 in May from 98.7 in April.

KBC Bank economist Austin Hughes said small changes of this sort aren’t statistically significant and as such it is more correct to say that Irish consumer sentiment held broadly steady last month.

The underlying trend as suggested by the three month moving average of the series continued to edge higher in May - from 97.6 to 98.4.

“At current levels the sentiment index is pointing to a fairly healthy upturn in the economy as a whole,” Mr Hughes said.

But he warned that consumers remain concerned about a lack of improvement in household spending power.

“This implies that from the perspective of the average Irish consumer the recovery is a case of two steps forward and one back rather than a widely shared ‘feel-good’ factor  that is driving marked gains in confidence and consumer spending,” he added.


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