Saturday 21 April 2018

NTMA boss says Ireland will benefit from Brexit as sterling slide continues

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) chief executive Conor O'Kelly. Photo: Frank McGrath
National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) chief executive Conor O'Kelly. Photo: Frank McGrath
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Ireland's attractiveness to global companies is likely to be boosted as result of Brexit, the head of the State's debt management agency has said.

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) chief executive Conor O'Kelly said that if the UK was to continue to "isolate itself", Ireland could benefit.

It came as sterling traded near a five-week low amid mounting concerns from investors that the UK government will stick to a hard line over the Brexit negotiations. Mr O'Kelly told Bloomberg TV that the implications of the vote are "profound", but suggested Ireland could benefit.

"The advantages of Ireland as a multinational and FDI destination .. [with] access to European markets, good demographics, well educated workforce, they're likely to be amplified I think," Mr O'Kelly said.

"If Britain were to continue to isolate itself, Ireland's natural advantage as a global hub or a centre for European industries, not just financial, could be very significant."

Mr O'Kelly said Brexit was a very big issue for Ireland, given the close economic relationship between Ireland and the UK. "I think probably in the short term, you're seeing lower sterling, it will hurt exporters, it will hurt the tourism industry, but Ireland is a very adaptable, flexible economy.

"We've been trading with Boston, Berlin, Birmingham for a long term and we're a very open economy," he added.

A survey by consultancy group KPMG at the weekend found that three-quarters of British company bosses are considering moving operations abroad following the vote to leave the European Union.

Meanwhile, the euro was worth almost 87 pence yesterday and around $1.29. Sterling was knocked down late on Thursday after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he expected formal divorce proceedings between Britain and the EU to begin early next year.

Mr Johnson said that two years may not be needed to negotiate a deal. Yesterday sterling was down 0.2pc at $1.2947.

"The comments from Johnson around the timeframe for Article 50 to be invoked and that the Brexit negotiations do not need to take two years have had a detrimental impact on sterling," said Jameel Ahmad, chief market analyst at FXTM.

Irish Independent

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