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Consumer confidence falls sharply in Northern Ireland as coronavirus effects felt

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Consumer confidence has fallen here

Consumer confidence has fallen here

Consumer confidence has fallen here

There’s been a sharp fall in consumer confidence in Northern Ireland as the effects lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic are felt.

Around 36% of those surveyed expected their financial situation to worsen over the next year, while 43% pointed towards ‘global risks’ as having the biggest impact on confidence levels, according to Danske Bank.

However, the survey was carried out during March and only partly captures the impact of the lockdown measures on sentiment levels.

There was a fall in the component of the index which examines job security, with 20% expected their job security to worsen.

“The coronavirus pandemic was the main factor that contributed to the fall in confidence levels in the first quarter of the year, with notable declines in sentiment relating to how people felt about their future financial positions, job security and spending on expensive items,”  Danske Bank chief economist, Conor Lambe, said.

“Given the measures put in place in response to the virus, households are likely to spend their money differently to how they normally would.

“At an aggregate level, the areas in which spending might temporarily increase are not expected to be anywhere near enough to offset the falls in expenditure on other goods and services. As such, we are projecting that total consumer spending will decline sharply in Northern Ireland as a result of the pandemic.

“Looking forward, confidence levels are one of the factors that will influence the pace of the recovery in consumer spending once the lockdown measures begin to be gradually lifted.”