Irish consumer confidence falls for rare fourth month in a row

·1 min read
Daily life in Dublin, Ireland

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish consumer sentiment fell for the fourth successive month in May as concerns around the cost of living continued to build and worries about a global recession intensified, a survey showed on Thursday.

The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment index dropped to 55.2 in May from 57.7 in April, only the fifth time since the survey began over two decades ago that confidence had fallen four months in a row.

The last time it did so was in the summer of 2019, when a chaotic and very damaging Brexit seemed likely. Before that, four-month falls were recorded twice during the financial crisis in 2008 and 2010, and in 2001, when the dot-com bubble burst.

The 2.5 point monthly decline was much smaller than the sharp falls of the preceding two months, which the survey's authors put down to consumers already being braced for a lot of bad economic news.

"Encouragingly, the one element of the survey that showed an improvement in May compared to April was the buying climate," KBC Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said.

"Although this owed something to the exceptional scale of the pull-back in this element in recent months, it could also hint at some resilience as well as resources that mean Irish consumers will slow rather than stop spending in coming months."

(Reporting by Graham Fahy; editing by Padraic Halpin and Sandra Maler)

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