Irish consumer sentiment fell for the sixth month in seven in December. The overall IIB Bank/ESRI Irish Consumer Sentiment Index fell marginally in December 2007. The Consumer Sentiment Index was 62.7 in December, compared to a figure of 63.1 in November.
Commenting on the results David Duffy, ESRI, said:
“Although the Consumer Sentiment Index fell only marginally in December it is too soon to say if this indicates that the decline in sentiment is coming to an end. The Index remains close to the all-time low point of 60.9 reached in July 2003 and is well below the 89.8 recorded in December 2006. Consumers continue to express concerns about the housing market, rising interest rates and job losses.”
stabilised in December. The forward-looking sub-index remained steady at 49.3 in December, from 49.2 in November, but significantly below the 87.7 for December 2006. The Index of Current Economic Conditions declined to 82.5 in December from 83.7 in November, and down from 92.8 in December 2006.”
In addition, Austin Hughes, IIB Bank, noted:
“The December reading suggests Irish consumers ended last year very nervous about the outlook for jobs. 4 out of 5 consumers expect unemployment will rise in 2008, twice as many as a year earlier. Some high profile redundancy announcements during the survey period as well as widespread fears about job losses in Construction mean consumers are worried about job security in the coming year.”
"There is some evidence in the December survey that Mr. Cowen’s budget is expected to have a modest positive impact on household finances. In part this reflects the extent to which fears of a hairshirt budget had been fanned in the run-up to December. It remains the case that consumers are a good deal more fearful about the general economic outlook than their own financial situation. There is a clear sense of foreboding about what 2008 may hold for the Irish economy.”