Monday 19 August 2019

Households are less upbeat on prospects

Bank of Ireland’s group chief economist Loretta O’Sullivan
Bank of Ireland’s group chief economist Loretta O’Sullivan
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Irish households are less optimistic about their economic prospects this month as they face into the Christmas season, according to latest figures from the Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse survey.

The survey, published this morning, showed that business economic confidence was little changed month-on-month.

But compared to a year ago, both consumers and businesses in Ireland were much more positive about the economy. Twelve months ago, Donald Trump had just been elected US president, while just months prior to that the UK voted to leave the European Union.

"With the Trump administration making little headway in implementing its agenda over the past year, the hit to sentiment seems to be waning, whereas Brexit-related uncertainty is continuing to take a toll," said Loretta O'Sullivan, group chief economist at Bank of Ireland.

A Pulse survey earlier this year found that 25pc of Irish firms that might have been affected by some of Mr Trump's earlier planned policy changes had put investment plans for 2017 on hold. But the latest Pulse survey found that just 16pc of those firms had suspended such plans for 2018.

The Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse stood at 90.5 this month. Sentiment among construction firms rose sharply this month. Amongst consumers, 20pc planned to spend more on Christmas presents this year, while 57pc expected to spend about the same as last year.

Meanwhile, the Housing Pulse element of the survey stood at 117.4 this month, down 2.5 points on October, but up 9.2 points year-on-year.

One-third of consumers were concerned about rising house prices. The cost of renting was a major concern for 42pc.

Irish Independent

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