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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Dec 3, 2013 - 3:09 PM


Irish consumer sentiment fell in November
By Finfacts Team
Dec 3, 2013 - 3:07 PM

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The overall KBC Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index decreased to 71.0 in November, from 76.2 in October. The 3-month moving average improved once again from 72.0 to 73.4.

The Consumer Sentiment Index comprises two sub-indices; an index of consumer expectation that focuses on how consumers view prospects over the next 12 months and an index of current economic conditions, focusing on consumers’ present situation.

The Index of Consumer Expectations is based on consumers’ perceptions of their future financial situation, their economic outlook for the country as a whole and employment expectations. This sub-index remained unchanged at 64.8 this month.

The Index of Current Economic Conditions is based on how consumers feel about their current financial circumstance compared to 12 months ago, as well as their perception of the current buying environment for large household purchases. The Index of Current Economic Conditions decreased to 80.2 from 93.3 in October

The data was obtained from telephone interviews during the first two weeks of the month with around 800 completed questionnaires. The data were re-weighted in line with gender, age and level of educational attainment to ensure the data is fully representative of the national population of adults. Each index is calculated by computing the relative scores (the percent giving favorable replies minus the percent giving unfavorable replies (the balance), plus 100) for each question used in the different indices. Those who reply “Don’t Know”, “Remain the same” are excluded from the index calculations. Each relative score is rounded to the nearest whole number. The sum of the relative scores is then divided by the base period total for each index.

Commenting on the results Kevin Timoney, ESRI, said: "Consumer Sentiment fell to 71.0 in November from 76.2 in October. Despite this decrease, the 3-month moving average continued to improve to 73.4, the seventh consecutive monthly increase.

“November’s decrease was mainly due to weaker perceptions of current household finances and the purchasing climate for large durable goods. There was also a deterioration in expectations for household finances next year. In contrast, expectations for an improved labour market were more upbeat than they have been since June 2007.

“The index of current economic conditions fell sharply from 93.3 in October to 80.2 in November. With forward-looking movements offsetting, the index of consumer expectations was unchanged at 64.8.”

In addition, Austin Hughes, KBC Bank Ireland, added: “The November sentiment survey results may be disappointing but they’re not entirely surprising. The Irish economic recovery now emerging is still tentative and many consumers are severely cash constrained. While they sense the broader economy is improving, that isn’t translating into any immediate easing in the pressures they face. Consequently, when they factored the impact of Budget day measures into their household finances, the sentiment index surrendered some of its recent gains.

“If consumers lack any clear source of a ‘feelgood’ factor at present, they are still signaling a clear easing in ’feelbad‘ at least as far as the broad Irish economy is concerned. The turn in the jobs market that consumers are sensing a turn matches the evidence of recent official data. The fact that the November survey reports more consumers seeing unemployment falling than rising for the first time in nine years points in a positive direction but it also underlines how difficult conditions have been in recent years.“

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