consumer Archives - Kelly Rahill Accountants

Brexit hiatus lifts consumer and business confidence

Progress towards the achievement of a Brexit resolution has lifted consumer confidence this month, new research has found.

But the Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse for November also recorded that despite the brighter consumer mood, Brexit uncertainty continues to weigh on businesses’ investment plans.

The index, a composite of separate measures of consumer and business sentiment, registered at 80.6 for the month, up 3.6 on October, but down 9.3 on a year earlier.

It found that one in six people plan to spend more on Christmas presents this year on the back of an increase in consumer optimism in the period – the first in four months.

Bank of Ireland says this rise was due to the lowered risk of a no-deal Brexit cause by the further extension of Article 50.

Festive cheer also seems to be kicking in, with more people assessing their finances in a positive way heading into the festive season.

Businesses too were feeling better about their situation during the month the survey found, with increases in the index across all sectors compared to October.

However, with the outcome of the UK general election still not clear, business investment into next year is set to remain subdued as many firms place their plans on hold. 

Christmas is a vitally important time for retailers and the Retail Pulse was broadly positive, with one in five expecting their festive turnover to be higher than last year.

The housing pulse also saw a mild bounce in November, with nearly half of people expecting house prices to rise in the next year.

However, three in five predict an increase in rents. 

The Economic Pulse surveys are conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Bank of Ireland with 1,000 households and approximately 2,000 businesses on a range of topics.

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Consumer sentiment slumps further as Brexit rumbles on

Consumer sentiment fell for a fourth successive month for the first time since late 2012 as uncertainty over Brexit continued to weigh on confidence, a survey showed today. 

While the economy here has remained the fastest growing in the EU throughout three years of Brexit talks, consumer confidence took a hit in recent months as the prospects of a no-deal British exit rose. 

The KBC Bank consumer sentiment index sank to 69.5 last month from 75.3 in September, the lowest level in over six years. The index stood at 93.5 a year ago. 

“There is little doubt that the ongoing decline in consumer confidence is largely as a result of continuing nervousness around Brexit,” KBC Bank Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said. 

“Whereas risks are large and one-sided from a consumer confidence perspective, this has to be weighed against the current reality of healthy gains in employment and improving incomes. So, spending hasn’t stopped but it is notably slower than it might otherwise be,” Mr Hughes said. 

He added that the October reading may also hint at a measure of disappointment with the budget for 2020 when the Government did not implement the tax cuts and spending increases of recent years to set aside funds for firms most exposed to Brexit. 

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Consumer price growth slows in July – CSO

Consumer price growth slows in July – CSO

Consumer prices rose by 0.5% in July compared to the same month of 2018, according to the Central Statistics Office.

That represents a significant slowdown in the pace of inflation, which stood at 1.1% in the year to June and 1.7% in April.

In the year to July the cost of housing and utilities – including water, electricity and fuel – rose by 4%, while alcohol and tobacco prices were up 2.5%.

That was counteracted somewhat by a 6.8% fall in communications costs, with furnishings and household equipment costs down 3.8%.

According to the CSO insurance prices are up 0.9% in the past year, however the cost of motor insurance in particular is down 4.9%.

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Consumers spent €1.7 billion online in March

Consumers spent €1.7 billion online in March

New figures from the Central Bank show that there are more payment cards than people in this country, with just over six million active credit or debit cards in circulation.

In the first three months of the year, Irish people spent just over €1.7 billion using those cards – that is equivalent to the Government’s health budget for the whole year.

The Central Bank figures show that for every €10 we spent using a costly credit card, we spent €53 with a debit card.

In that three month period, Irish consumers conducted 244 million point of sale transactions using debit cards – that does not include taking cash out of ATMs .

The average spend using a debit card was just over €40.

Using credit cards, consumers here made 34 million transactions, with an average spend of €80 – suggesting that consumers use credit cards for more expensive things.

Debit card spending grew by 19% year on year in March, while credit card spending grew by 10%.

The Central Bank figures also reveal that Irish consumers are spending more on online shopping as well.

Consumers bought €1.7 billion worth of stuff on the internet in March alone – that is the cost of the National Children’s Hospital spent in just one month.

Online shopping now accounts for half of all credit card spending and a quarter of all debit card spending.

According to the Central Bank, we are also spending more on overseas trips.

On average €0.5 billion a month went through credit and debit cards physically used outside of Ireland, including ATM withdrawals.

That amounts to a total of €1.6 billion spent abroad in the first three months of the year, 7% more than the same time last year.

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