Dip in Irish companies' optimism blamed on global economy and looming threat of Brexit
A quarterly business survey has found that companies are less optimistic about growth prospects than at any stage in the past year.
About 52pc of companies surveyed in a recent optimism index by BDO said they expected results to stall or decline in the first three months of this year, the highest proportion since the end of 2014, amid renewed concerns about the prospects for the global economy and the possibility of Britain's exit from the EU.
"2015 was an exceptionally strong year of growth for the Irish economy, expanding 7pc over the year, by far the quickest pace of growth in Europe", said Con Quigley, partner at professional services firm BDO. "However, what is noticeable in our latest survey is the lower number of businesses expecting activity levels to rise in the first quarter of 2016.
"When asked to look ahead, 48pc of respondents said they expected their businesses to grow in the first quarter. That is the lowest forward projection growth for any of our surveys in 2015.
"Undoubtedly there has been a rise in economic volatility since the start of 2016, with increasing uncertainty as to the prospects of global economic growth. We have seen a sell-off in global equities, concerns about China's economy and ongoing political instability in the Middle East as well as a dramatic fall in the price of oil. We see the impact of this confluence of global concerns not only in our client base in Ireland but in our work on projects with Irish firms holding assets in London and those we are preparing for IPO."
Sunday Indo Business