Irish consumer sentiment hovers at 22-month low in August

A general view of a crowded street while retail reopens fully as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions continue to ease after an extensive lockdown period in Dublin, Ireland, May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Irish consumer sentiment slipped marginally to hover at a 22-month low in August as respondents said they expected to further cut back on major purchases in the coming months, a survey showed on Thursday.

The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment index fell a touch to 53.4 from 53.7 in July, its sixth decline in seven months, having stood at 81.9 in January.

The slight weakening was driven by a softer outlook for the jobs market, for household finances over the next 12 months and a larger pullback in spending plans.

While confidence is at its lowest point since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and with retail sales also falling, strong employment, tax returns and service sector data suggest parts of the economy are coping with near 40-year high inflation.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said last week that the economy is continuing to perform strongly and remains set to grow in line with expectations that were lowered in April.

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Reporting by Padraic Halpin Editing by Bernadette Baum

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