Bank of Ireland has released its latest Economic which is conducted by Ipsos MRBI with 1,000 households and approximately 2,000 businesses on a range of topics including the economy, their financial situation, spending plans, house price expectations and business activity.
The Business Pulse rose for a second month running in June. Expectations for business activity and hiring intentions for the period ahead were up and firms in the Industry and Services sectors reported some improvement in export order books.
The Consumer Pulse, which was broadly flat last month, rose in June with financial worries and concerns about job security easing and buying sentiment improving.
The index shows that spirits were low in respect of business activity over the past while, but with the economy beginning to re-open and the Government accelerating the timetable for easing the COVID-19 restrictions, expectations for business activity and hiring intentions for the period ahead were revised up. And with Ireland’s main trading partners now also coming out of lockdown, firms in the industry and services sectors reported some improvement in export order books in June.
Households remained very gloomy about the current economic situation this month, but with the COVID-19 restrictions starting to be lifted they were a little less pessimistic about prospects for the coming year. Financial worries and concerns about job security also eased in June as some people returned to work, while buying sentiment ticked up another notch (21% considered it a good time to make major purchases, compared with 16% in May and a low of 13% in April).
The share of households expecting house prices to fall in the next 12 months stood at just over half in June - down from almost three in five in May - but with only one in six anticipating price gains, the balance of responses remained in firm negative territory. Expectations for future rent increases were also in the red this month, albeit only marginally so.
Commenting on Bank of Ireland’s June Economic Pulse, Group Chief Economist for Bank of Ireland, Dr Loretta O’Sullivan said, "The June data confirms that a rebound in sentiment is underway, following on from the improvement seen in May, with consumer and business confidence both rising this month. It is early days though and, so far, the Economic Pulse has only recouped just under half the losses it sustained in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak."
She added, "This isn’t too surprising given the unprecedented scale of the recent shock triggered by the public health emergency. But as the economy springs back to life and re-boots over the coming weeks and months, with more shop front shutters being raised and more people returning to work, sentiment should continue to strengthen."