Hope is the thing with Euros.
Ever since the economic downturn, good news must be taken with a pinch of salt in terms of finances and the economy. Whilst we are somewhat used to the deluge of negative stories of ever increasing house prices as well as the general cost of living, we must also celebrate the good news, the positive stories and the numbers that inspire hope for the future of our small island’s finances. Particularly as more Brexit talks loom on the immediate horizon and there is a certain nervous and uncertain energy associated with the future, it is crucial to accept and celebrate whatever small victories are available to us at this time.
This month it was revealed that consumer spending has risen, which marks 14 months of continual growth for Ireland. Whilst the rise may not seem exponential, it is the fact that growth has been continuous for over a year that is important here for a country recovering from a severe crisis. This is vital as such sustained growth feeds into other aspects of the countries growth through fuelling job creation and boosting morale. The Visa Irish Consumer Spending Index suggests that payments of all kinds increased by almost 4% in April in comparison with the same time the previous year. This rise has been particularly evident in the area of online spending, which continues to soar.
This large spike in growth was in fact encouraged by March’s Storm Emma, which briefly dampened consumer activity and lead to a larger spike in April than expected. The unexpected snow storm meant that March saw a rise of only 1.5%. Some retailers have reported a decline in sales of up to 30% which has led to a lot of ground needing to be made up in the remaining months of the year for these retailers, many of which had to close their doors for a number of days due to the adverse weather conditions.
Whilst this increase is of course a move in the right direction for spending in Ireland, it is advisable to remain cautious as always as Visa have themselves reported that this level of growth “remains relatively subdued” perhaps due to the level of ground that needs to be made up following Storm Emma’s damaging effects. Cautiously optimistic may be the appropriate outlook for the coming months.