Irish consumer morale sinks to near four-year low as Brexit weighs

Irish consumer morale sinks to near four-year low as Brexit weighs
FILE PHOTO: A concierge stands outside a shop that is having a summer sale in Dublin, Ireland July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne -
Clodagh Kilcoyne(Reuters)
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DUBLIN, (Reuters) - Irish consumer morale sinks to near 4-year low as Brexit weighs Irish consumer sentiment weakened in October for the third month in a row as fears of a no-deal Brexit weighed, a survey showed on Thursday.

Ireland's economy is on course to be the best performer in the European Union for the fifth consecutive year, but there is increasing concern about Dublin's vulnerability to the consequences of an unregulated British departure from the bloc.

The KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 93.5 from 96.4 in September. It had stood at 107.6 in July, making the cumulative fall over the last three months the largest since 2010.

"The monthly drop in consumer sentiment in October is relatively modest and suggests panic hasn't taken hold," KBC Ireland Chief Economist Austin Hughes said.

"However, the continuing decline ...clearly indicates that Irish consumers have gotten a good deal gloomier of late."

Modest gains in personal incomes following the 2018 budget appear to have been eclipsed by concerns for the general economy, Philip Economides of the ESRI said.

"Given that the negotiating space of the British government continues to narrow and progress towards a satisfactory Brexit-proposal remain elusive, consumer sentiment is likely to remain subdued until such uncertainties pass."

(Reporting by Graham Fahy; editing by John Stonestreet)

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