The Credit Union Consumer Sentiment Index improved slightly in October, as a range of measures announced in Budget 2023 offered a partial offset to the economic uncertainty and financial pressures that have caused Irish consumer confidence to tumble through 2022.
Despite the small uplift in October, it remains the case that Irish consumer sentiment is very weak at present.
According to the data, only ten of the previous 320 readings in the near 27-year history of the survey were weaker than the current figure.
As such, the Credit Union Consumer Sentiment Index implies that Irish consumers are very gloomy about the circumstances that they now face.
“The Consumer Sentiment Index is focused exclusively on economic and financial factors affecting Irish households,” commented Austin Hughes, who analysed the data on behalf of the Irish League of Credit Unions.
“However, it would be surprising if the awful tragedy that unfolded in Creeslough, Donegal, during the survey period did not weigh, in some manner, on the thinking of consumers, darkening the assessment of current circumstances.”
Hughes noted that while Irish consumers may be gloomy, the small improvement in confidence in October hints that they still have the capacity to see some silver lining in a generally dark economic sky.
“In a survey period that saw notable downgrades to a range of economic forecasts at home and abroad, and repeated signals from the European Central Bank that further large interest rate increases are planned for [the] coming months, our judgement is that this pickup primarily reflects a response to Budget ’23 support measures,” he added.
“At the margin, it may also be that Irish consumers are drawing some comfort from the view that, in sharp contrast to recent developments in the UK, current domestic policy settings should provide some measure of relief from painful cost-of-living pressures.”