Saturday 21 April 2018

Optimism remains high for economy

Dr Loretta O’Sullivan, chief economist at Bank of Ireland. Photo: David Conachy
Dr Loretta O’Sullivan, chief economist at Bank of Ireland. Photo: David Conachy
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

More than half of households think the economy will improve over the next year, a survey shows.

The latest Bank of Ireland Economic Pulse was up for the third month running in March, with the Business Pulse posting a 21-month high, and the Consumer Pulse slightly softer than last month.

Bank of Ireland said the Business Pulse led the way in the month, though sentiment was mixed across the sectors.

The recent bad weather affected construction activity in particular. Brexit uncertainty also remains a factor.

On the consumer front, confidence was down a little in March, but is still at a high level.

Over half of those surveyed think the economy will improve in the coming year, with just under a half expecting unemployment to fall further.

Dr Loretta O'Sullivan, group chief economist at Bank of Ireland, said it was a "hat-trick" for the Economic Pulse in March with sentiment up for a third month running.

"The latest reading is also well up on this time last year when Article 50 was triggered, and there are some tentative signs that Brexit-related uncertainty may be becoming less of a drag for Irish businesses," Dr O'Sullivan said. She said 44pc of firms said they would put investment decisions on hold, down from 53pc last March.

Irish Independent

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