Irish consumer sentiment inched higher in June, rising above the historical average of the series for the first time in two years as the economy slowly reopens, a survey has revealed.
The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment index rose to 87.2 in June from 85.8 in May, its strongest level since June 2019 and above the 25-year series average of 86.8.
Successive Monthly Increase
The move marked the fifth successive monthly increase after confidence slumped in January following the reimposition of a COVID-19 lockdown. Restrictions are being gradually eased with indoor dining and drinking only set to resume early next month.
"These results suggest the shadow of the pandemic is gradually lifting from the economy and, as a result, Irish consumers are becoming less concerned about their current circumstances as well as less fearful about the future," KBC Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said.
Hughes added that while the re-opening of parts of the economy did contribute to a clear easing in nervousness about the general outlook for the economy, concerns were emerging about future financial circumstances for some.
Weaker expectations for household finances, including debt burden and disposable income, over the coming year was the only negative sub section of the survey in June, the data showed.
Announcement during the survey period of the phased reduction and ending of financial supports through the next nine months may have been one element in the weakening of expectations for household finances through the coming year.
The study also noted that in contrast to the broader economic outlook, the past two months have seen the balance of responses point towards some easing in unemployment over the next two months – the first time this has been seen since mid-2019.
Meanwhile, grocery sales in Ireland declined by 5.2% year-on-year in the 12 weeks ended 16 May 2021, according to data from Kantar.