Irish consumers more upbeat but concerned about global economy

Latest consumer sentiment index shows rebound in confidence in the capital

Sentiment among Dublin consumers recovered in late 2015, rising from 147.6 to 152.6 points in the third quarter

Sentiment among Dublin consumers recovered in late 2015, rising from 147.6 to 152.6 points in the third quarter

 

Consumer sentiment rebounded in the final three months of 2015, particularly in Dublin. However, many households are concerned about what this year will bring, a new survey shows.

The latest KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI consumer sentiment index shows confidence rising across the country, but increased uncertainty about the global outlook is also evident.

Sentiment among Dublin consumers recovered in late 2015, rising from 147.6 to 152.6 points in the third quarter. However, while it was up significantly from the 132.1 points reported for the same three-month period a year earlier, it remained somewhat shy of the year-high figure of 155.6 points recorded in the second quarter.

Outside of the capital, sentiment eased up slightly, to its highest level last year, rising to 160.6 points in the final three months of 2015, compared to 156.9 in the third quarter.

Current readings suggest the broad trend in consumer sentiment is positive both in Dublin and in the rest of Ireland although KBC chief economist Austin Hughes said somewhat uneven readings also suggest a significant element of caution on the part of the public.

The fourth quarter readings show consumers across the country are only marginally more optimistic about the outlook for the Irish economy. Mr Hughes said this could be due to to increased uncertainty about the global economy.

Consumers in Dublin were notably more positive in their views as to how their personal finances had developed in the past twelve months during the last three months of 2015, partly because of subdued inflation, lower oil prices and a sense that the era of painful austerity measures is over.

Some 27 per cent of households in the capital reported improved personal finances in the past 12 months, while a third said they expect an improvement this year.

Outside Dublin, more consumers experienced weaker personal finances than saw an improvement in the past year.