Wednesday 21 March 2018

Confidence returning to manufacturing sector

Donal O'Donovan

IRISH manufacturers are regaining in confidence after last autumn's collapse in business sentiment, according to accountancy firm KPMG's latest International Business Outlook survey.

The research shows Irish manufacturers now expect revenues and new orders to increase over the coming year. Producers even believe the trend will translate into a rise in profits.

The better tone among the crucial manufacturing sector means managers are loosening their own purse strings to increase investment in research and development (R&D), the survey showed.

There is less optimism in the services sector, but expectations there have also improved and managers in both sectors expect to see employee numbers rising over the next 12 months. Indeed services sector managers say they are more likely to add jobs this year.

KPMG's head of advisory David Kennedy said the findings show how business confidence was recovering from the shock of the debt crisis at the end of last year.

"The results support the view that the IMF/EU Funding Agreement and the election have helped restore some business confidence across both the manufacturing and services sectors. The trend throughout 2010 had been of increasing confidence. This took a dip last autumn but has returned to a more positive trend since the start of 2011," he said.

However, managers in manufacturers and service companies are increasingly concerned about rising inflation. Businesses also said difficulty accessing bank credit continues to be a problem.

The international results of the global survey show increasing optimism in virtually all markets. Internationally, business sentiment is now at the highest level since 2008.

It comes as confidence levels in Europe and the US are starting to match the highs seen over a number of years in Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Irish Independent

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