Monday 22 January 2018

Editorial: Even analysts don't know what condition our economy is in

November is a wicked month. This year it is also a confusing month for analysts trying to puzzle out what is really going on the Irish economy and if we are still clinging to hopes of recovery, however "fragile". On the one hand, stamp duty, income tax and VAT all increased in November, with the Exchequer collecting €520m more last month than it did in the same period the previous year. This indicates that more people were at work, contributing more to income tax, while consumer spending increased, contributing to an increased tax yield.

But at the other side of the equation, KBC Bank/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index took a dive, admittedly from a six-year high.

Nobody is quite sure what consumer confidence actually means, it's either there or it is not. But economist Austin Hughes believes that a combination of increasing health insurance costs, the Budget and confusion over the payment dates for property tax may have contributed to this drop in confidence.

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