Saturday 20 January 2018

Builders cash in on weak sterling

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Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Builders here are capitalising on the Brexit-induced weak pound, with construction firms more than doubling their spending on imports from the UK during the first five months of this year compared with the same period in 2016.

That's according to data released by Fexco corporate payments.

The analysis of more than 1,300 transactions shows that by the end of May Irish building firms had spent 152pc more on UK goods and services than they did in the first five months of 2016.

Firms also appear to be importing from the UK more frequently - the number of transactions rose by 13.5pc.

The average transaction size more than doubled from €5,729 in the first five months of 2016 to €12,382 in the first five months of 2017.

David Lamb, head of dealing at Fexco Corporate Payments, said Irish building firms are cashing in on sterling's weakness by snapping up imports from the United Kingdom.

"But the tactic is likely to be about more than just opportunism," he added. "Compared to this time last year, British goods and services are a bargain for Irish builders - but also an attractive way to offset rising cost pressures at home.

"With Ireland's skills shortage likely to force up construction sector wage bills in coming months, consistently cheap imports could prove a vital safety valve for Ireland's builders as the market heats up further."

Sterling is hovering around 87p against the euro.

Read more: UK election fears hit car sales and services

Irish Independent

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