Ireland: Consumer sentiment steady in April
May 11, 2017
In April, the KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index ticked up from 101.9 points in March to 102.0 points. The marginal increase reflects that Irish consumers continue to remain cautious amid an uncertain outlook. Consumers have struggled to make sense of current economic developments and their potential impact on household finances and the country’s economic prospects.
April’s reading reflected diverging trends in the survey. A more pessimistic outlook on personal finances offset a brighter picture for the country’s economic outlook. The improved assessment of Ireland’s economic outlook partly reflects that the consequences of Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency are now perceived to be less immediate and damaging than originally anticipated thanks to the resilience of the domestic economy. Unemployment fears diminished in April thanks to a strengthening labor market. On the contrary, higher fuel prices and health insurance costs dimmed consumers’ over of their personal finances last year and this year.
Commenting on the opposing trends in the consumer confidence survey, KBC noted that, “while there may be a feeling that things are gradually getting better, there is little indication of anything approaching a boom. Caution is the most important characteristic of Irish consumer confidence at present.”