The fall in Irish consumer well-being last month mirrors similar decline in the UK.
Irish consumer sentiment has slipped to the weakest level since December, according to KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index for April 2018.
The report indicated that limited gains in household finances and high profile layoffs could also have contributed to more downbeat views.
“This suggests some element of the slippage reflects common ‘Anglo-Saxon’ concerns that might range from worries about the potential threat of a trade war (on top of Brexit) to the more immediate strains on household finances prompted by rising energy costs and restrained wage growth,” said Austin Hughes, chief economist, KBC Bank Ireland.
UK Consumer Sentiment Slip
The index outlined that UK consumer sentiment also slipped in April as a weaker trajectory for the UK economy allied to on-going political uncertainty worsened the outlook for household finances and produced an overall negative summary for the 28th consecutive month.
“In contrast, a slight pull-back in views on economic prospect by Euro area consumers was more than offset by expectations of healthier household finances resulting in a clear if modest increase in confidence.” Hughes added.
The pathway taken by the survey in recent years has been one and a half steps forward followed by one step back. In this way, the April sentiment reading again emphasises that the Irish economic upswing is still not delivering a broadly based ‘feel-good factor’ to boost the mood of the average Irish consumer.
“So, we don’t think it signals a sea-change in thinking. Instead, it highlights the difficulties Irish consumers have in trying to interpret confusing signals in an uncertain and rapidly changing economic environment and decide what significance these have to them,' he explained.
Hughes said that increased global worries about trade wars and oil prices likely played some role.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.