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Number of firms going bust falls 20pc

The number of businesses going bust in Ireland has slowed considerably since the start of the year as the economy stabilised, new figures show.

In the first nine months of 2013, 1,025 companies in Ireland were deemed insolvent – a 20pc fall compared to the first nine months of 2012.

The data from Insolvencyjournal.ie reveals while the overall number of insolvencies has dropped, the picture across the business fabric remains mixed.

In the hard-hit construction sector, there were 17pc fewer corporate insolvencies recorded in the first nine months of this year, at 256.

Separate recent data has signalled that the sector could be edging out of its worst crisis ever. This year will see the lowest number of new homes built in the country since records began in 1970.

But the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers' Index climbed in August for the fourth consecutive month, almost reaching equilibrium. The Central Statistics Office also noted recently that the number of approved planning permissions for dwellings around the country rose 37pc in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the corresponding period in 2012.

The rate of business failures in the retail sector has also eased. In the first nine months of the year, the number of insolvencies has fallen 8pc to 146.

Retail sales remain under pressure, however, and next month's Budget is likely to do little to alleviate the predisposition among consumers to keep a lid on their spending.

But there are tentative signs that the bottom may have been reached. The volume of retail sales rose 4.4pc year-on-year in July, according to the CSO.

In the hospitality trade, there was a 2pc rise in insolvencies in the first nine months of 2013, at 118. That's despite the boost that many businesses in the sector have seen as a result of The Gathering initiative.

The motor trade has also continued to suffer. While new car sales rose 20pc in August, the number of insolvencies in the sector soared 78pc in the first three quarters of 2013 to 32.

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