Consumer sentiment ticks back up as Ireland emerges from lockdown

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Consumer Sentiment Ticks Back Up As Ireland Emerges From Lockdown
The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment index rose to 86.5 in August from 84.9 in July. Photo: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty
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By Padraic Halpin, Reuters

Consumer sentiment improved marginally in August, largely but not entirely reversing last month's dip from a two-year high recorded in June, as the economy gradually emerged from a pandemic-linked lockdown, a survey showed on Thursday.

The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment index rose to 86.5 in August from 84.9 in July. It reached a coronavirus pandemic-high of 87.2 in June as restaurants and pubs began to reopen following the country's third and longest shutdown.

The gains in the August survey largely reflected improved macroeconomic developments with little follow-through to household finance as consumers remained relatively guarded, the survey's authors said.

“At current levels, the survey suggests Irish consumers are gradually if unevenly putting the extreme worries of the past couple of years – fuelled first by Brexit and then the coronavirus – behind them,” KBC Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said.

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“But Irish consumers don't feel a further step towards the 'next normal' will mechanically translate into increased prosperity for them.”

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