Consumer sentiment slightly improved ahead of Budget: KBC and ESRI

Monday 03 December 2012 12.25
Fragile improvement in consumer setniment in November
Fragile improvement in consumer setniment in November

Irish consumer sentiment registered a small improvement in November, which may signal consumers think they are prepared for this weeks Budget.

The KBC Bank Ireland ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index shows though that confidence is still fragile and that the Budget can make a difference.

Better sentiment in Ireland mirrors that in US and UK but is at odds with sentiment in the eurozone.

The small improvement in economic outlook suggests that consumers expect modest growth next year.

KBC says that a key task for the Minister for Finance is to sustain the fragile improvement by ensuring consumers see signs of progress, as well as pain, in the measures announced on Wednesday.

Economist at KBC Austin Hughes said that if consumers wake up on Thursday morning feeling that Budget 2013 has made them much poorer than they expected, there is some risk that sentiment and spending could be on a weaker than expected trajectory in 2013.

He added: "If, on the other hand, the Budget 2013 package can be presented in a manner that suggests the coming year will be difficult but bearable and also encourages the view that the Irish economy and household finances are slowly moving closer to a return to sustainable growth, the near term outlook may be better than envisaged."