The latest Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse has been released two days ago.

Article by Robert McHugh on

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 including the economy, their financial situation, spending plans, house price expectations and business activity.

The Consumer Pulse dipped to 97.7 in July 2018 from 98.9 last month, but was still 1.2 higher than a year ago. Households were a little more muted about the economy this month, whereas they were a bit more upbeat about their current financial situation.

The July survey also finds that two in five workers are expecting a pay rise in the next 12 months and illustrates the extent of the improvement in the labour market over the past few years, with 46% currently considering it easy to find or change jobs compared with 30% back in July 2016.

The Business Pulse stood at 92.6 in July 2018, down 5.3 on June’s two year high. The Industry, Services and Retail Pulses all lost ground this month, with only the Construction Pulse bucking the trend and advancing.

The survey indicates that global trade tensions and some uncertainty around the Brexit process look to have unsettled firms, leading them to slightly temper their growth ambitions in July – while three in five are planning on expanding their business in the next 1 to 3 years, this figure had been running at two thirds for the last while.

The Housing Pulse eased back in July 2018, coming in at 111.8. While price expectations have cooled a little since the start of the year, they remain in positive territory. Some 74% of households think further increases are on the cards over the next 12 months.

The data also show  that almost one in ten is planning on buying or building a property in the coming year, with the cost of renting, time of life and space requirements topping the list of reasons for wanting to take this step, but unsurprisingly, high house prices topping the list of barriers to doing so.

Commenting on the research, Group Chief Economist at Bank of Ireland, Dr Loretta O’Sullivan said, “With businesses somewhat more subdued and households a bit more wary, the Economic Pulse dipped in July. The drop this month comes after a run of good readings in the first half of the year and on the back of renewed Brexit uncertainty.”

She added, “While the UK government’s White Paper on the future relationship with the EU has helped move the talks on somewhat after a period of inaction, it remains unclear whether a withdrawal agreement can be successfully concluded in line with the autumn timetable. This has unsettled firms in particular and, along with concerns about rising protectionism, has led them to temper their growth ambitions slightly.”