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Shoppers are at their happiest in nearly 8 years so it's all down to the budget now

Customer sentiment is higher than it has been since January 2007.
Oct 6th 2014, 1:58 PM 7,677 13

IRISH CONSUMERS ARE more buoyant about their financial prospects than they have been for nearly eight years.

The latest KBC Ireland/ESRI consumer sentiment survey hit its highest level since January 2007 thanks to more positive feelings about both the year to come and the current economic climate.

The survey’s analysts said the results continued a positive trend which started last year, although some of the monthly results had been “choppy”.

“The broadly based rise in sentiment in September may point towards a further step-up in confidence of late in response to signs of a strengthening recovery and the anticipation of an altogether less-threatening budget next week,” they said.

The results came despite weaker consumer surveys from the UK and eurozone this month, and patchy reports from the US.

Consumer Sentiment

Irish consumers’ impression of the country’s economic outlook were the strongest of all the figures, hitting their highest level since February 2006.

Some 58% of those surveyed thought the economy would get better over the next year, compared to 11% who expected it to do worse.

Consumers were also the most positive they have been since January 2007 when it came to the jobs outlook, although the survey reported a slight drop on last month’s figures when it came to the share of people who expected less unemployment.

But the analysts said for there to be any further boost in people’s positive outlook they would need to see concrete evidence of the improving economy delivering a better deal for their personal finances.

It’s all down to the budget now

KBC Bank chief economist Austin Hughes said the latest Irish consumer figures came despite falling confidence elsewhere in Europe and consumers were expecting pressures to ease on their spending abilities.

“It seems to reflect a range of good news on the Irish economy and, critically, growing expectations of a notably easier budget,” he said.

Hughes said the bounce in confidence made both the overall tone and specific measures in next week’s budget “hugely important”.

READ: Here are 7 things we know about the budget so far

READ: The official jobs and economic outlooks are better than expected, but don’t get too excited…

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Peter Bodkin


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