Ireland: Consumer confidence deteriorates in March, falls to six-month low
April 6, 2016
In March, the KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index declined from February’s 105.8 points to 100.6 points. March’s print marks the lowest reading since September and the largest monthly decline since October 2014. In the survey report, KBC pointed out that March’s result was driven by greater political uncertainty at home and greater international instability, stemming primarily from the Brexit referendum. These developments have prompted Irish consumers to have a more pessimistic outlook on the prospects of the Irish economy and to scale back spending plans. Despite the drop, the five components of the index remained in positive territory. This said, March’s reading rather reflected more caution on the part of Irish consumer than an increase in perceived economic weakness.
KBC also stated that, “while the drop in sentiment in March might be regarded as no more than a wobble given that the details of the survey remain generally positive, it should also be taken as a warning given particular threats to the Irish economic outlook and the still strained financial circumstances of many households. The March results certainly suggest that Irish consumers are more conscious of downside risks to the recovery of late.”