August 12, 2018 / 11:22 PM / a month ago

Irish consumer sentiment boosted in July by summer sun

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish consumer sentiment rebounded to a four-month high in July as unusually warm weather and the prospect of summer holidays buoyed the public mood, a survey showed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A concierge stands outside a shop that is having a summer sale in Dublin, Ireland July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

The KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index recovered to 107.6 in July from 102.1 in June when it had sunk to its lowest level in more than a year, continuing a see-saw pattern since hitting a 17-year high in January.

Ireland’s economy has posted the fastest growth in Europe since 2014 and unemployment has fallen rapidly, but modest and uneven improvements in household finances and concerns about the broader economy have kept consumers cautious.

Last month’s jump was the strongest monthly increase since January as all five elements of the index registered month-on-month gains, the first time that has happened since then.

“While the sentiment survey is driven by the economic temperature, our sense is that exceptionally warm weather may have caused more Irish consumers to see the glass half full rather than half empty in July,” KBC Ireland Chief Economist Austin Hughes said.

“The jump in Irish consumer confidence in July was at odds with weaker readings in similar indicators for the US and UK.”

Reporting by Graham Fahy, editing by Padraic Halpin and Mark Trevelyan

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