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Consumer sentiment slumps further as Brexit rumbles on

Consumer sentiment fell for a fourth successive month for the first time since late 2012 as uncertainty over Brexit continued to weigh on confidence, a survey showed today. 

While the economy here has remained the fastest growing in the EU throughout three years of Brexit talks, consumer confidence took a hit in recent months as the prospects of a no-deal British exit rose. 

The KBC Bank consumer sentiment index sank to 69.5 last month from 75.3 in September, the lowest level in over six years. The index stood at 93.5 a year ago. 

“There is little doubt that the ongoing decline in consumer confidence is largely as a result of continuing nervousness around Brexit,” KBC Bank Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes said. 

“Whereas risks are large and one-sided from a consumer confidence perspective, this has to be weighed against the current reality of healthy gains in employment and improving incomes. So, spending hasn’t stopped but it is notably slower than it might otherwise be,” Mr Hughes said. 

He added that the October reading may also hint at a measure of disappointment with the budget for 2020 when the Government did not implement the tax cuts and spending increases of recent years to set aside funds for firms most exposed to Brexit. 

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