Ireland: Consumer sentiment deteriorates in April
The KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI consumer sentiment index slid to a five-month low of 104.0 points in April from 108.1 points in March, continuing a “see-saw pattern” of improving confidence in one month followed by weaker confidence in the next month in a rapidly changing and uncertain economic setting due to the threat of a potential trade war, along with Brexit.
April’s loss of consumer confidence reflected increased strains on household finances, underpinned by higher energy costs and restrained wage growth. Four of the five sub-components of the index deteriorated in April. Consumers’ fears over unemployment climbed in the surveyed month and was the weakest element of the index. While consumers’ outlook on prospects for the Irish economy and expectations on their personal finances were broadly unchanged in April.
Despite the drop in consumer confidence in April, KBC Bank Ireland noted that:
“We remain of the view that there is an underlying trend improvement in Irish consumer confidence and it should be emphasised that positive answers significantly outweigh negative answers to all the survey’s key questions. However, the April results highlight how uneven that progress of the Irish economic recovery has been for consumers.”