Bank of Ireland has today released its latest economic pulse which are conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Bank of Ireland 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 Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse came in at 86.4 in February 2020. The index, which combines the results of the Consumer and Business Pulses, was up 0.3 on last month but 4.4 lower than a year ago.
Households – who appear to have put their concerns about Brexit on the back burner for the moment - were more upbeat about the economy’s prospects this month, with the balance of positive and negative responses moving into the black for the first time since last June. And while they were a tad gloomier about their own finances, the buying climate remained resilient.
The UK’s orderly departure from the EU saw firms upgrade their near-term expectations for business activity. Bank of Ireland say Brexit is still a headwind for the economy of course, so it is not surprising that seven in ten businesses expect their region to be negatively impacted over the coming year; though this is down from almost nine in ten last September when fears of a ‘no deal’ exit were to the fore.
Having pared them back in January, households upped their expectations for future house price gains this month. Housing was one of the defining issues of Election 2020, with the continuing shortage of accommodation a hot topic on the campaign trail.
The February survey finds that this is also a concern for businesses, with firms in all regions calling out housing as the priority area for investment in order to strengthen local economies.
Commenting on Bank of Ireland’s February Economic Pulse, Group Chief Economist for Bank of Ireland, Dr Loretta O’Sullivan said, "This month’s survey took place in the wake of the UK leaving the EU and in the midst of a general election at home. The former event passed off in an orderly manner, buttressing consumer and business confidence and allaying some concerns about the economic outlook. But with the general election delivering a hung Dáil, a period of domestic policy uncertainty lies ahead which may temper sentiment over the coming months."