Irish consumer sentiment improved in December to its best level for four months as cheaper fuel and an improved economic outlook brought some seasonal cheer to hard-pressed households, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The Credit Union Consumer Sentiment index increased to 48.7 in December from 45.3 in November, the second improvement in the past three months. The index recorded a 14-year low of 42.1 in September.
'Relatively Positive Data'
The survey's authors said the improvement probably reflected the release of "relatively positive data showing low unemployment, slowing consumer and property price inflation and buoyant tax revenues as well as strong economic growth".
They also said people were less worried that recent job losses in the tech sector might be the beginning of "a more broadly based weakening of the jobs market".
Foreign-owned companies employ more than 275,000 people in Ireland, or one in nine workers, with more than 106,000 people employed by tech multinationals, according to the state's inwards investment agency, IDA Ireland.
But while the survey appears to show that concerns have stopped building, the authors warned that "they haven't gone away" and it "remains the case that the overwhelming view is that the Irish economy will weaken in the next twelve months".
Elsewhere, sales of private-label products rose by 9.6% in Ireland in the 12 weeks to 27 November, latest data from Kantar has shown, as shoppers sought to offset rising inflation costs.