Consumer sentiment held steady in October just below June's two-year high as respondents reported growing confidence about the economic recovery but lingering concerns about their personal finances, a survey shows.
The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment inched up to 86.8 from 86.4 in September. It reached a coronavirus pandemic-high of 87.2 in June as restaurants and pubs began to reopen following the third and longest shutdown.
The economy has largely reopened, but the Government this week said it would retain a requirement for vaccine certificates in bars and restaurants for several more months.
"The dominant mood appears to be one of continuing caution born out of uncertainty and experience rather than runaway confidence that would reflect a view that the worst is behind us," said KBC Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes.
The consumer survey also found that lower-paid people are more likely to feel the impact of rising prices.
Rising energy and other prices have been driving up the cost of living since Covid-19 began receding this year. However, the KBC index says that cost-of-living pressures vary widely across different groups of people.
Mr Hughes noted that people on “lower incomes or reporting difficulties in making ends meet” are more likely to say their living costs are rising rapidly.
However, he added that better paid people or those making ends meet with ease are more likely to say their living costs were flat or falling.
KBC’s monthly survey found that 42 per cent of Irish people believe their living costs have increased by 5 per cent or more over the last 12 months.