Ireland's consumer confidence reaches seven-year high

DUBLIN, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Ireland's consumer confidence is at an "exceptionally" high level, according to a new consumer market survey result released Tuesday.

The latest Consumer Market Monitor, compiled by the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the Marketing Institute of Ireland, showed the country's consumer confidence reached a seven year high in the second half of 2013.

Consumer confidence picked up considerably throughout 2013, with confidence up five points in the first half of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.

The second half of 2013 continued in an upward direction, reaching a seven-year high of +5 in December. This positive trend is continuing into 2014, with confidence rising to +10 in January 2014.

The two research institutes attributed the increase to positive employment news in recent months, as well as strong retail figures and an increase in activity in the property market.

The Consumer Market Monitor uses data collected from a number of sources, including the Central Statistics Office, Central Bank and European Commission, to create a model that measures consumer behavior against a number of economic variables such as taxes and income levels.

Consumer spending accounts for over 60 percent of Ireland's gross national product (GNP) and is a critical factor in driving the country's economic recovery.