Irish consumers positive about economy but cautious about household finances

Irish consumers positive about economy but cautious about household finances

Irish consumer sentiment remains steady in April with all indications showing a gradually more positive outlook taking hold.

However, while the public is reasonably confident of the country’s economic recovery, there remains a degree of caution around household finances.

This may well make consumers more susceptible to “auction politics”, or election promises of improvements in living standards, according to the KBC/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index published on Wednesday and which showed a rise from 97.8 in March to 98.7 this month.

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This remains below the nine year high of 101.1 recorded in January, although Irish consumers continue to sense a gradual improvement in economic conditions, as reflected in three index rises in the last four months.

“Current sentiment index readings might be interpreted as suggesting that Irish consumers almost completely discount the continuation of positive news on the Irish economy and some moderate improvement in their personal financial circumstances on foot of such strength,” Wednesday’s report noted.

Only a “marked gearshift” in economic performance or what it might deliver in terms of household spending power might be expected to prompt a “dramatic movement in consumer sentiment”, it said.

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