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Consumers still wary

IRISH consumers are tightening their purse strings despite a cut in interest rates. The KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index for May rose slightly from 58.9 to 61.2.

KBC said the index has changed little in the past three months as consumers await "decisive evidence indicators" as to whether recovery is taking hold or greater difficulties lie ahead.

"Although consumers appear to have some sense that the broad Irish economy may be improving, the extent of any upswing is altogether too limited to ease continuing concerns about their personal finances," he said.

The most positive element of the May survey was in relation to the outlook for household finances.