NI consumer confidence dips to new low on Brexit uncertainty

Political deadlock also stokes anxiety

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Consumers in the North are downbeat about their future finances as anxieties about Brexit and frustrations over the local political deadlock drag confidence levels to a fresh low, new research shows.

People in Northern Ireland say they are more likely to spend less on high value purchases such as holidays and furniture this year while workers aged over 35 clalim they are becoming more worried about their job security, according to Danske Bank’s latest Northern Ireland Consumer Confidence Index.

Conor Lambe, Danske Bank’s chief economist, said analysis shows consumer confidence fell sharply in the second quarter of the year across all four parts of its index including current finances, future finances, job security and future spending.

But the bank’s latest research also showed that despite the overall slump in confidence full-time workers, part-time workers and students felt better off in the North than did this this time last year.

This was not the case for unemployed people, retirees and people looking after the home who said they felt worse off, rather than better off.

A majority of consumers also believe that they are unlikely to be able to save as much this year as they did during 2017.

Mr Lambe said: “Despite expectations that inflation should gradually fall towards the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target, and that wage growth will be higher given the strength of the labour market, consumers are still downbeat about their future finances.

“It’s clear that factors such as Brexit and the lack of an Executive are not only negatively affecting the wider economy, they are also negatively influencing consumers’ expectations about their individual financial positions.”