Saturday 20 January 2018

Business sentiment better than expected in first three months of 2017

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Business sentiment improved during the first three months of 2017 as the Irish economy so far defies fears of a marked slowdown, according to the latest KBC Bank/Chartered Accountants Ireland business sentiment survey.

Companies report ongoing and healthy growth in their own activity levels and they are now marginally more positive about the coming quarter.

However, as major uncertainty persists in regard to the global and domestic economic outlook, producer confidence remains some way below the levels seen in late 2015.

“The survey suggests 2017 has started positively for Irish business, with broadly based improvements in activity and employment. While the pace of growth has eased slightly and firms remain cautious about an uncertain environment, early 2017 has been notably less difficult than they had envisaged,” Pat Costello, CEO of Chartered Accountants Ireland said.

“The rise they are seeing in their own business volumes, allied to better than expected news on the broader Irish economy, is now translating into improving confidence,” he said.

Brexit

The survey also found that there are significant differences in companies’ understanding of the implications of Brexit for their businesses. Just 21pc of companies believe they have a strong sense of the consequences of Brexit for their activities, while 26pc say they have little sense of what it will mean for them.

Almost one third of those surveyed said that the weak sterling was already having an adverse effect on their business, while 40pc surveyed said that they were already taking Brexit related action in many instances because of FX effects.

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