Brexit drags sentiment lower for Irish households and businesses

Irish households are increasingly gloomy about the economic outlook, amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit.

Bank of Ireland’s Consumer Pulse – based on a mix of consumer surveys – shows households were gloomier about economic prospects in January, with more negative than positive responses for the first time in three years.

Using a standardised scoring system, the latest Consumer Pulse reading was 87.7 in January, down 1.6 on December. The same measure gave a reading of 100 a year ago.

Most people are more downbeat about the wider economic situation than about their own personal prospects, the survey found. The data show 39pc of respondents think it is a good time to purchase big ticket items like furniture and electrical goods, while 29pc are likely to buy a car in the next 12 months.

Group chief economist for Bank of Ireland Dr Loretta O’Sullivan (pictured right) said Brexit is dominating sentiment.

“Uncertainty about how the UK will leave the EU has reached fever pitch in recent weeks, with talk of a no-deal Brexit to the fore.

“The analysis published last week by the Central Bank shows that a disorderly Brexit is an especially bad outcome for the Irish economy. Households are well aware of this, as their gloomier assessment of economic prospects in this month’s Pulse survey testifies,” she said.

On the business front, sentiment held steady in January but remains low, Dr O’Sullivan said. “The squeeze on exporters is continuing, with the pound falling to over 90p against the euro at the end of last year amid the heightened political drama in the UK.”

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