Consumers keep spending despite Brexit worries


Bank of Ireland's latest economic snapshot suggests that householders are confident about the economy's outlook while businesses are feeling more nervous.

It's Economic Pulse stood at 91.1 for March - which was 1.4 lower than February and 5.0 below the pre-Brexit survey 12 months ago.

The consumer index rose, compared to February, as unemployment hit an eight-year low.

36% of consumers think that now is a good time to buy a 'big ticket' purchase like a new TV or furniture, that's up from 33% last month.

Dr. Loretta O’Sullivan, Group Chief Economist, Bank of Ireland commented: "Households had a little more spring in their step this month, which helped the Consumer Pulse recover some ground."

She cites higher-than-expected economic growth recorded in 2016 and a further dip in unemployment as factors which have consumers feeling more optimistic.

"Amid all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and Trump, households seem to have taken some comfort from the fact that the economy is continuing to grow and create jobs," Dr. O’Sullivan continued.

Construction's comeback

Confidence in Industry and Services retreated on gains made in February - while the construction industry has continued its upswing and retail's outlook was unchanged.

Dr Loretta O’ Sullivan said: "The Business Pulse was softer this month, with Brexit on firms’ radar as the end-March date for triggering Article 50 fast approaches. Sentiment was mixed in March across the sectors, with a large drop for the Industry Pulse on the back of softer order books and hiring intentions, and a solid increase for the Construction Pulse."


83% of Dublin-based respondents believe that house prices will continue to rise during the next 12 months. Across the country three out of every four people are expecting higher asking prices.

Seven out of ten respondents expect rents to continue to rise.

Joseph Conroy, 

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