Consumer confidence slipped in October, according to the latest Pulse survey from Bank of Ireland.
The index, which combines the results of the Consumer and Business Pulses, was down on last month but up on a year ago.
"The October Economic Pulse presents a mixed picture," said Dr Loretta O’Sullivan, group chief economist, Bank of Ireland.
Consumers were more hesitant this month, with various worries, not least increases in the cost of living and the rise in virus cases, taking the shine off households’ mood,"
According to the survey, Budget Day, rising costs and prices, along with emerging doubts over plans to fully lift the remaining public health restrictions made for an uneasy setting this month.
Business sentiment held steady, though the picture across the sectors was more nuanced, the research shows.
"The business mood remained sanguine on the whole but that’s not to say that everything in the garden is rosy," she said.
This month’s research also considered the ability of businesses to compete in foreign markets.
The results show some softening in competitiveness for firms in industry over the past three months, which is less to do with exchange rate moves (the euro has been relatively stable against both sterling and the dollar) than with global supply chain disruption and higher costs (three in five are experiencing material and equipment shortages, while four in five have seen an increase in non-labour input costs).
Hospitality & Arts Impact
O’Sullivan noted that this month’s research finds that uncertainty is hampering activity in sectors like hospitality and arts and entertainment for example, while firms in industry are grappling with supply bottlenecks and higher input costs, with adverse implications for export competitiveness.