Consumer confidence falls to an all-time low and a third of households are barely making ends meet

A third of people just barely made ends meet this month, according to a Bank of Ireland sentiment survey.

The number rose to 53 per cent for low-income households, the Bank of Ireland’s Economic Pulse Survey showed, and fell to 16 per cent for those at the higher end.

Consumer confidence fell to an all-time low as households faced soaring utility bills and mortgage repayments and people grew gloomier about their overall personal finances, as well as the economy and job prospects.

It comes as Flogas Energy announced its third price hike this year – the eighth company to recently announce increases in electricity and gas prices.

And food price inflation hit 11 percent in the three months to September, with the cost of back-to-school staples like bread, ham, cheese, yogurt, cereal and milk rising 19.5 percent, according to research firm Kantar.

The Bank of Ireland Consumer Pulse Survey came in at 42.1 in September, 6.3 down from August and 38.9 down from a year ago.

Businesses were also more cautious in the face of increasing economic uncertainty, with two-thirds saying it was difficult to predict the future trajectory of their business situation.

The business pulse in September 2022 was 77.7, 0.7 less than the previous month and 12.3 less than a year ago.

Housing was the most important area of ​​investment for 42 percent of companies, followed by transport (23 percent of companies).

Almost two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) believe house prices will rise in the coming year, down three percentage points from last month.

Basic infrastructure, including power, water and waste, was a priority for 19 per cent of companies – a category usually at the bottom of the list – as concerns mounted over disruptions to the flow of gas from Russia.

And 15 percent of companies name telecommunications as the most important investment area.

The Economic Pulse survey – which combines consumer and business sentiment – came in at 70.6 in September, 1.8 down from last month and 17.6 down from a year ago.

“Economic sentiment was bearish this month amid worsening energy concerns,” said Dr. Loretta O’Sullivan, Group Chief Economist at the Bank of Ireland.

“As households face even higher gas and electricity bills in the coming months, consumer confidence fell to an all-time low in September.

“The unsettled environment also dampened business sentiment, while concerns over the ability of Ireland and other European countries to keep the lights on this winter appear to have prompted a reassessment of infrastructure needs.”

Industrials (up five points to 86) and retail (up 8.5 points to 73.7) were the most upbeat sectors, while services rose 4.3 points to 77.4 and construction fell 1.4 points to 74 .6 declined.

The real estate pulse survey came in at 99.8 in September, 1.6 down from last month and 19.1 down from a year ago.

Households and businesses across the country have been more pessimistic over the past three months, with sentiment in Connacht and Ulster being the lowest at 67.5, although Munster posted the largest quarterly decline, falling 4.7 points to 68.4. Regarding the county, people and businesses in Dublin were the most optimistic. Consumer confidence falls to an all-time low and a third of households are barely making ends meet

Fry Electronics Team

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