Consumer outlook highest monthly increase in over two years

Consumers' outlook is at its highest level for seven months.

The KBC/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index for January showed the biggest monthly increase in over two years.

Economists say it is likely to have been influenced by positive feelings post-Christmas, January sales and the relatively smooth transition of power in the US.

Chief Economist with KBC Bank, Austin Hughes, says it is unlikely to remain this high in the coming months: "There was a very strong reading for consumer sentiment in January, now part of this is probably seasonal.

"Over the Christmas period consumers find that there are great bargains to be had and they are spending a little more freely which we saw in yesterday's VAT returns,

"It is potentially a temporary factor that will disappear when the bills and the bad weather hit home."

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