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Irish consumer sentiment steady near pandemic high in September

·1-min read
Phased re-opening of retail after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, in Dublin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish consumer sentiment remained steady in September just below the two-year high recorded in June, a survey showed on Thursday, as the government prepared to lift almost all pandemic restrictions within weeks.

The government has named Oct. 22 as its target date to drop most restrictions, with more than 90% of the adult population vaccinated, one of the highest levels in the world.

The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment eased to 86.4 in September from 86.5 in August. It reached a coronavirus pandemic-high of 87.2 in June as restaurants and pubs began to reopen following the country's third and longest shutdown.

The weakest elements of the survey were related to the macroeconomic environment in part due to concerns about an international plan to set minimum corporate tax rates, which some fear could threaten a pillar of the country's economic policy, said KBC Ireland chief economist Austin Hughes.

"Irish consumer sentiment held broadly steady in September as a focus on potential threats to the economic outlook ranging from global taxation changes to elevated public debt contrasted with evidence of further progress out of the pandemic," Hughes said.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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