The latest Bank of Ireland/ESRI Savings and Investments Index was released yesterday. The Index tracks household attitudes towards savings and investment as well as monitoring their perspectives on the current and future savings and investment environment.
It is produced monthly from a minimum sample of 800 consumers aged 15 years and above. The ESRI carries out the Savings and Investment Index research to ensure the indices represent a national sample. Sentiment towards savings and investments increased to 101 points in April from 98 in March 2018. This represents a return to the upward trend observed since December 2017.
This month consumers were asked if the uncertainty around Brexit affected their savings patterns in order to understand if people are saving more in anticipation of Brexit. The vast majority of people (92%) answered that Brexit was not affecting their savings patterns. Younger savers appeared marginally more concerned about the effects of Brexit – 6% of under 50s were saving more as a result of Brexit compared with only 1% of over 50s.
The survey also found that Brexit was a greater motivation for savers outside Dublin compared with in Dublin. Outside Dublin 5% of people said they were saving more as a result of Brexit compared with only 1% in Dublin.
This Risk Barometer asks households how they would consider using a windfall gain of €10,000. The April results showed Irish people edging more towards investments and away from saving. The percentage of people saying they would invest a €10,000 windfall rose to 36% from 25% in February. However, generally Irish people retain a heavy preference for saving with 64% of people saying they would consider saving a windfall gain.
Commenting on the Index, Tom McCabe from the Bank of Ireland Investment Markets said, "The finding that Brexit is almost a non-event for 92% of Irish savers at present is the standout discovery from this month’s analysis of Irish savings and investment patterns. This suggests some level of uncertainty around how Brexit could affect the Irish economy and peoples’ finances."
He added, "However Irish people have built up a large savings buffer in recent years, amounting to over €100 Billion. A combination of improving employment and wages coupled with tax cuts have helped make saving more affordable for Irish people. Therefore, it seems that Irish people have certainly put some protection in place against the fallout from a hard Brexit, even if they have done so unintentionally."