The Central Bank yesterday published sector spending behaviour data through the most recent phase of the pandemic, showing card spend up until mid-February. The data captures over 90% of the card payments market and looks at the trends from the Level 5 restrictions in October/November and again in January/February.
The latest data up to mid-February, show that spending has broadly reverted to levels seen in October’s Level 5 period for all sectors, except for ‘other retail’, which is lower than October as this included the build up to Christmas for retail spending.
The data shows a sharp drop just after Christmas (-45% for week of December 31st), but the Central Bank suggests that this was driven by a number of factors in addition to the introduction of public health measures. Goodbody Stockbrokers say these are seasonal factors, the impact of weekends, and the impact of public holidays - all of which contribute to lower spending.
According to Goodbody Stockbrokers, "The data is particularly weak in the first week or so of January, but reverts back to “norm” it looks like as we move into February. All the same, it still shows it down yoy for the time being and this is a likely trend until mid-March when the yoy comps should start to improve materially (you know why!!). Anyway, the banks will have plenty of opportunity next week to fill us in on what they think themselves about 2021."