What is the Consumer Sentiment Index?
The Consumer Sentiment Index is a monthly report (electronic) produced jointly by the ESRI and KBC Bank Ireland.
Consumer spending is an important element of economic growth. The National Income and Expenditure Accounts (2000) show that in 2000 the value of personal consumption accounted for 49% of Irish GDP. Trends in this component are therefore very important for forecasting and planning. A gap that exists at present in Ireland is a widely used indicator for consumer sentiment. This contrasts with the situation in both Europe and the US. At present the EU Commission publishes a consumer confidence indicator for Europe, and includes details of Ireland as one of the member states. In the US measures of consumer confidence by the University of Michigan and the Conference Board receive much attention, both domestically within the US but also internationally.
Such indicators have a broader use than solely as an input to model based forecasts. They provide some barometer of consumer sentiment and thus are an additional piece of information that may be used by those analysing, or interested in, the health of the economy.The KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI index of consumer sentiment aims to fill the existing gap in information on the consumer sector. The new index uses monthly data collected by the ESRI for the monthly Consumer Survey and is constructed using a methodology based on international best practice.