Consumers remain nervous about Ireland’s recovery as sentiment drops to near two year low

Consumer sentiment has fallen to a 22 month low reflecting unease in the Irish consumer following the Brexit vote and the US presidential election.

According to Tuesday’s survey by KBC Ireland and the ESRI, the monthly drop in sentiment was relatively modest – but enough to drive the index to its lowest level since February 2015.
The index slipped to 96.2 in December 2016 from 97.8 the month before, indicating that the average consumer’s disappointment in 2016’s economic recovery.

Potential threats such as Britain’s decision to leave the EU. the looming Brexit negotiations in 2017 and the election of Donald Trump appear to have impacted sentiment.
The KBC survey revealed that almost 40pc of consumers believe that the economy will improve in the next twelve months. Howvere, compared to December 2015, this positive outlook was felt by 61pc of consumers.

“The December survey is not pointing to a dramatically poorer economic outlook but to a sense of detachment from extremely strong conventional economic metrics of recent years and concern about an increasingly uncertain future,” commented the bank’s chief economist Austin Hughes.
“The perception that the economic recovery to date has not been sufficiently inclusive and that the persistence of that recovery may be less certain in the year ahead means that the predominant mood captured by the consumer sentiment survey at present is a feeling of missing out”, the economist added.

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