Irish 'more gloomy about spending'
Irish people have become more pessimistic about their own spending power after the budget and IMF/EU bailout package, according to a poll.
A consumer confidence survey carried out last month shows shoppers got more gloomy about their prospects since November and were less likely to buy goods and services.
Seven in 10 of those interviewed believed their personal household finances will worsen in the year ahead with only 3% expecting some sort of improvement.
Analysts said the decline suggested people were painfully aware they will be hit hard in the pocket by cutbacks, but also believe the economy should improve under budgetary measures.
Austin Hughes, chief economist of bank KBC Ireland, which carried out the survey with thinktank Esri, said the dip in consumer confidence was to be expected.
"If anything, the surprise is that the decline wasn't larger," he said.
"One reason why the fall was relatively modest is that consumer sentiment had already slipped sharply through the autumn in anticipation of significant bad news.
"While the December reading could have been a good deal worse, current levels of the consumer sentiment index point towards a tough year ahead for domestic spending in the Irish economy."