Bank of Ireland released their latest Economic Pulse yesterday. The Economic Pulse surveys are conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Bank of Ireland with 1,000 households and over 2,000 businesses on a range of topics including the economy, their financial situation, spending plans, house price expectations and business activity.
The Irish survey data which feeds into the EU Commission, came in at 95.2 in February 2018. The research, which combines the results of the Consumer and Business Pulses, was up 2.4 on January and 2.7 on a year ago.
The Consumer Pulse stood at 99.7 in February 2018, little changed on January’s two year high and up 9.9 on a year ago. Households were a little more muted about the economy’s prospects this month, and with the post-Christmas sales at an end, buying sentiment softened with 39% considering it a good time to purchase big ticket items, compared with 41% last month.
Consumers’ assessment of their own financial situation was a touch more positive though, and 70% indicated that they are likely to save over the coming year. Topping the list of reasons for putting money aside were having a rainy day fund and providing for retirement and later life needs.
At 94.1, the Business Pulse was up for a second month running in February 2018. This was 3.1 higher than last month’s reading and 0.9 higher than a year ago. All four sector Pulses gained ground this month, with an across the board improvement in hiring intentions and firms in industry, services and retail more optimistic about prospects for business activity over the next 3 months.
The Housing Pulse came in at 115.5 in February 2018, down 1.7 on the month but up 7.3 on this time last year. The research finds that disequilibrium in the housing market is impacting both house prices and rents, with rising prices a concern for four in ten households and the cost of renting a worry for a similar proportion.
The February survey also finds that almost half of firms in Dublin and Munster, two in five in the Rest of Leinster, and a third in Connacht/Ulster, consider the housing infrastructure in their region to be inadequate.