Irish consumer sentiment weakened for the third month in a row in September, as concerns about a chaotic Brexit made people more nervous about the outlook both for the Irish economy in general and their personal finances in particular, research shows.
While the drop in confidence in September was notably smaller than in either of the two previous months, it was still sufficient to push the sentiment reading to its lowest level in nearly six years, according to the KBC Bank Ireland Consumer Sentiment Index September 2019.
"The decline in Irish consumer sentiment in September 2019 stands in stark contrast to modest monthly improvements in similar confidence indicators elsewhere," highlighted Austin Hughes, chief economist, KBC Bank Ireland.
"In the US, consumer sentiment partly reversed a significant drop seen in the August reading as sustained gains in household incomes were seen offsetting increased ‘macro’ uncertainty."
Hughes said that the September survey paints a picture of a very anxious Irish consumer who could be further unsettled if the upcoming Budget creates a sense of panic about the possibility of much tougher times to come.
"While Budget ’20 must be realistic, it should seek to reassure in regard to a capacity to weather upcoming storms rather than raise concerns that a much poorer economic climate is set to return," he said.
"The Irish Government has decided reasonably to frame Budget 2020 on the basis of a ‘no deal’ Brexit."
Such caution is entirely appropriate but how that translates into measures and message to be delivered next week is not altogether clear-cut, the report showed.
He added: "Irish consumers will likely look for signs that the economy and the public finances will not be devastated in the way they were eleven years ago."
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.