DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish consumer sentiment slipped to its lowest level in four months in April, hit by concerns about job security and caution about personal finances as rents and utility bills outpace inflation, a survey showed on Friday.
The decline reverses an improvement in March and continues a see-saw pattern of monthly changes that reflects the uneven progress of the Irish economic recovery for many consumers.
The KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI consumer sentiment index fell to 104.0 in April from 108.1 in March. In January it hit 110.4, its highest level since February 2001.
“While it should be noted that the survey period saw quite a number of new job announcements, there was also news of significant layoffs at a couple of high profile Irish companies that may have focused attention on risks to job security,” KBC economist Austin Hughes said.
Hughes said spending on housing and energy, where costs are rising well above an overall inflation rate which has been flat for the past four years, could be erasing other improvements in household finances.
Reporting by Graham Fahy, editing by Padraic Halpin and John Stonestreet