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Slight Drop in Consumer Sentiment Doesn't Seem to Signal Change in Mood
By Austin Hughes, Chief Economist, KBC Bank Ireland
Apr 8, 2014

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Consumer sentiment decreased in March to 83.1 from 85.5 in February. The 3-month moving average increased for the eleventh consecutive month to 84.4, from 83.3 in February.

The Consumer Sentiment Index comprises two sub-indices; an index of consumer expectation that focuses on how consumers view prospects over the next 12 months and an index of current economic conditions, focusing on consumers’ present situation.

The Index of Consumer Expectations is based on consumers’ perceptions of their future financial situation, their economic outlook for the country as a whole and employment expectations. This sub-index increased to 78.1 in March, from 75.6 in February.

The Index of Current Economic Conditions is based on how consumers feel about their current financial circumstance compared to 12 months ago, as well as their perception of the current buying environment for large household purchases. The Index of Current Economic Conditions decreased to 90.4 from 100.2 in February.

Note: Since May 2008 the KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Irish consumer sentiment survey was prepared using a slightly different methodology.  While this may have a minor impact on the precise numerical estimates of various survey components, it should not have any significant effect on the broad trends reported.

The data was obtained from telephone interviews during the first two weeks of the month with around 800 completed questionnaires. The data were re-weighted in line with gender, age and level of educational attainment to ensure the data is fully representative of the national population of adults. Each index is calculated by computing the relative scores (the percent giving favorable replies minus the percent giving unfavorable replies (the balance), plus 100) for each question used in the different indices. Those who reply “Don’t Know”, “Remain the same” are excluded from the index calculations. Each relative score is rounded to the nearest whole number. The sum of the relative scores is then divided by the base period total for each index.

For further information contact

Austin Hughes – Chief Economist, KBC Bank Ireland– (01) 664 6889
Kevin Timoney – Research Assistant, ESRI – (01) 863 2095

Historic data from February 1996 are available on the ESRI website, and on the KBC Bank Ireland website, A detailed methodology note outlining how the indices are constructed and the most recent release are also available on the websites.

Austin Hughes
Chief Economist
KBC Bank Ireland plc
Sandwith Street
Dublin 2
T: 01 664 6892

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