Irish consumer sentiment improved in March, recovering about half of the large drop recorded in February when the index fell to a 51 month low.
The uptick in confidence in March doesn’t signal any dramatic improvement in either the current circumstances or future prospects of the average consumer, the latest KBC Bank/ESRI consumer sentiment index shows.
"The bounce in sentiment in March is partly a correction of the unusually large drop seen in February and suggests that while Irish consumers remain anxious about the economic outlook, the mood has not become apocalyptic as the Brexit deadline approaches," explained Austin Hughes of KBC Bank Ireland.
"The improvement in the March sentiment reading may owe something to increased optimism that a 'no deal’ Brexit can be avoided."
Global Nervousness Eases
The pick-up in Irish consumer sentiment in March coincided with modest gains in similar measures for the US and the Euro area and an unchanged reading for the UK, the report suggested.
The research highlighted that it could be that an improvement in international financial markets through the survey period coupled with low inflation globally prompted a more positive outlook for household wealth and spending power that was widely felt across countries.
"Consumers appear to be increasingly erratic with respect to setting forward-looking views over the next 12 months, which comes as no surprise given the repeated changes in the Brexit timeline," Philip Economides of ESRI, said.
"If clarity is restored to the future relationship between Ireland and the UK, it is likely that recent volatility in consumer expectations will settle.
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