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Consumer Sentiment down moderately in April
The overall KBC Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index decreased from 60.0 in March to 58.9 in April. The 3-month moving average fell from 61.2 to 59.4, reflecting a slight weakening of sentiment since the start of the year.
Commenting on the results Kevin Timoney, ESRI, said:
• “Consumer sentiment fell moderately to 58.9 in April, down by 1.1 compared to March. There was a larger reduction of 3.7 compared to April of last year. 2013 sentiment remains slightly subdued, with the average so far of 60.6 below the 2012 average reading of 61.0.
• “More downbeat expectations for the economy over the coming year were the main reason for this month’s fall in sentiment. The purchasing climate for large household goods also fell, while unemployment expectations improved slightly. Perceptions of household finances were better compared to a year previously, but expectations for the coming year declined for the third successive month.”
• “The index of current economic conditions was effectively unchanged at 75.4 in April, from 75.5 in March. The index of consumer expectations fell from 49.5 in March to 47.7 in April.”
In addition, Austin Hughes, KBC Bank Ireland, noted:
• “The mood of Irish consumers was little changed in April. The marginal decline in the sentiment index is disappointing when compared to a slight improvement across the rest of the Euro area but it is not entirely surprising. The April survey period saw some downbeat reports on the Irish economy and a number of indicators that point towards a still hesitant recovery. At the same time, the mishandling of the bailout of Cyprus served as an unfortunate reminder of the continuing inability of European policymakers to chart a course out of the crisis. In these circumstances, it is scarcely surprising that Irish consumers remained wary.”
• “The April survey saw consumers slightly more negative about the outlook for their personal finances in the coming year and also less inclined to contemplate making major purchases. The prospect of further budget-related pressures as well as uncertainty as to how much further pain may have to be endured and what form it may take will continue to weigh on consumer spending. This suggests that greater clarity about budgetary intentions and perhaps a signal that some scaling- back of these such fears might be warranted could significantly improve the outlook for the Irish economy into 2014.”
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