Irish consumer sentiment rises despite uncertain outlook

Consumers remain relatively cautious, latest KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI report suggests

The uncertain economic outlook has meant consumers have remained relatively cautious, the latest KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI sentiment index said. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

The uncertain economic outlook has meant consumers have remained relatively cautious, the latest KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI sentiment index said. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

Irish consumer sentiment rose slightly in March because of an easing of concerns about household finances.

However, the latest KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI sentiment index said the uncertain economic outlook has meant consumers have remained relatively cautious.

“The considerable difficulty that the average Irish consumer is currently having in evaluating their economic and financial prospects is clearly suggested by the fact that the March reading marks the 11th time out of the past 12 months in which the sentiment index has moved in the opposite direction to the previous month,” the report said.

The improvement in Irish consumer sentiment in March mirrored stronger readings in comparable US indicators of late but was at odds with the first weakening in euro-area sentiment in six months.

“Probably the most notable feature of the March sentiment results is the stronger reading on household finances. Importantly, this largely reflects fewer consumers reporting that things have got worse rather than more saying their spending power has strengthened,” KBC’s Austin Hughes said.