Lack of Stormont government dents consumer confidence in the north

Consumer confidence in the north fell dramatically in the second quarter of the year
Gareth McKeown

CONSUMER confidence in the north fell dramatically in the second quarter of the year, with a lack of local government cited as a key factor, new research has revealed.

The Danske Bank Consumer Confidence Index has revealed a sharp fall in confidence from the start of the year from 142 to 131. Although it is above the four-year low observed at the end of 2017, the latest index value is considerably less than the same period last year (139).

The data shows that almost a quarter of those surveyed (24 per cent) felt their financial position had deteriorated, compared to 17 per cent who said it improved.

That being said among full-time workers, part-time workers and students, the proportion of people that felt better off than last year was higher than the proportion that felt worse off.

Looking ahead there was a fall in the part of the index focused on consumers’ expectations of how their financial position will change over the next twelve months.

Sentiment also fell in terms of future spending, while consumers’ savings expectations fell over the quarter and over the year, with more respondents stating they will not be able to save as much in the year ahead (26 per cent) in comparison to the previous, with just 9 per cent expecting to save more.

A fall in confidence was further recorded in relation to job security

Danske Bank chief economist, Conor Lambe said the fall in consumer confidence represented a sharp fall from the first quarter of the year.

“This fall in consumer confidence reverses some of the pickup in confidence levels that we saw at the beginning of 2018," he said.

“Consumers continued to highlight the local political impasse and high inflation as factors having a negative impact on their confidence levels.

“Falls were recorded over the quarter and over the year in all four parts of our index, covering how consumers feel about their current finances, future finances, job security and future spending."

"It’s clear that factors such as Brexit and the lack of an Executive are not only negatively affecting the wider economy, they are also negatively influencing consumers’ expectations about their individual financial positions," Mr Lambe added.

Read more: Karen Bradley to do 'bare minimum' in absence of devolved government




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