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Brexit hiatus lifts consumer and business confidence

Progress towards the achievement of a Brexit resolution has lifted consumer confidence this month, new research has found.

But the Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse for November also recorded that despite the brighter consumer mood, Brexit uncertainty continues to weigh on businesses’ investment plans.

The index, a composite of separate measures of consumer and business sentiment, registered at 80.6 for the month, up 3.6 on October, but down 9.3 on a year earlier.

It found that one in six people plan to spend more on Christmas presents this year on the back of an increase in consumer optimism in the period – the first in four months.

Bank of Ireland says this rise was due to the lowered risk of a no-deal Brexit cause by the further extension of Article 50.

Festive cheer also seems to be kicking in, with more people assessing their finances in a positive way heading into the festive season.

Businesses too were feeling better about their situation during the month the survey found, with increases in the index across all sectors compared to October.

However, with the outcome of the UK general election still not clear, business investment into next year is set to remain subdued as many firms place their plans on hold. 

Christmas is a vitally important time for retailers and the Retail Pulse was broadly positive, with one in five expecting their festive turnover to be higher than last year.

The housing pulse also saw a mild bounce in November, with nearly half of people expecting house prices to rise in the next year.

However, three in five predict an increase in rents. 

The Economic Pulse surveys are conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Bank of Ireland with 1,000 households and approximately 2,000 businesses on a range of topics.

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