Saturday 21 January 2017

Irish business leaders grow cautious about 2017

Published 11/11/2016 | 02:30

The survey of 600 business leaders in Ireland found that one in 10 felt that the top business priority for 2017 would be dealing with Brexit, including exchange-rate volatility. Stock image
The survey of 600 business leaders in Ireland found that one in 10 felt that the top business priority for 2017 would be dealing with Brexit, including exchange-rate volatility. Stock image

Irish business leaders are more cautious about the outlook for the year ahead compared with this time last year, a survey has found.

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But they remain positive about business opportunities.

The survey by accountancy giant PwC, however, was carried out prior to the result in the US election.

It concluded that more than half of those surveyed are confident about the future prospects for their business over the coming year. But almost a third are worried.

Feargal O'Rourke, PwC managing partner, said the result of the US election this week will also lead to a period of change.

"In an Irish context we will be very interested in what a Trump presidency will mean for tax reform and trade," Mr O'Rourke said.

"If a new protectionist trade approach is implemented, allied to a simplified US tax code, this could swing the balance towards investing in the US and represent a challenge for Ireland. "However, we should not lose sight of the many non-tax advantages Ireland has to offer and we need to work hard to ensure our FDI offering remains first class."

The survey of 600 business leaders in Ireland, carried out at a PwC business forum on Tuesday, found that one in 10 felt that the top business priority for 2017 would be dealing with Brexit, including exchange-rate volatility. "The majority of Ireland's business leaders feel that when the dust settles in the years ahead, Brexit will have had an overall negative impact on Ireland's economy," Mr O'Rourke added.

"Brexit means uncertainty and uncertainty impacts investment and trade and we already see market turmoil and growth forecasts being pulled back."

Irish Independent

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