Friday 19 July 2019

Irish Exports Association 'extremely concerned' as pound set for tenth consecutive week of losses against the euro

Simon McKeever of the Irish Exporters Association
Simon McKeever of the Irish Exporters Association
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Against the Euro, the pound was on track for a 10th consecutive week of losses on Wednesday. At one point it was 90 pence to one Euro.

Simon McKeever, chief executive of the Irish Exports Association, said the weaker sterling is making Irish products and services sold in the UK more expensive.

He added that the group was “extremely concerned” about the risk of a hard-Brexit and the readiness’s of Irish companies for this possibility.

And while a fall in sterling is good news for consumers who shop online, for retailers here the outlook less rosy.

“Online shopping creates a significant challenge for small shops in Ireland in particular,” Tom Burke, director of Retail Ireland, said.

“The challenge is to try and gain a foot in the online space, which is starting to bear fruit. [That said], about 70pc of online spend goes outside of Ireland,” he added.

However, Danielle Connelly, who owns Coco Boutique on Dublin's Clarendon Street, said that to-date the fall in sterling has not impacted sales.

“So far it’s business as usually, we are very busy in part due to us stocking more affordable brands,” Ms Connelly said.

She does have concerns around the clothing that the shop imports from the UK, and how this will be impacted in the event of a hard-Brexit.

“A few of the brands we sell are from English companies that we ship over directly, and a hard-Brexit would worry me a lot in this regard,” Ms Connelly added.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s tourism sector is holding its own despite becoming more expensive for visitors from the UK.

“Numbers from Britain are up around 1pc this year,” Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, “even though Ireland is about 20pc more expensive for UK tourists compared to three years ago.

“While we can’t influence foreign exchange rates, we can certainly offer value for money,” he added.

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