Saturday 17 March 2018

Worst of slump over, but firms fail to see signs of turnaround: Survey reporters

THE worst of the economic downturn appears to have passed, but there is no sign of a broad turnaround in the business climate.

That is according to a new survey out today.

The business sentiment survey - compiled by KBC Ireland and Chartered Accountants Ireland - found that business activity weakened slightly in the third quarter of this year.

Up to 30pcof firms reported an increase in levels of activity, with 33pc indicating a decline.

These figures were little changed from the second quarter.

Fewer firms took on new staff, according to the survey, while there was a modest rise in the number of lay-offs.

But fewer companies reported that their costs had risen, while there was an increase in the number reporting a drop in costs.

And there was also a sharp rise in optimism about the general Irish economic outlook.

The number of firms indicating that they had become more optimistic rose to 31pc from 21pc three months ago.

However, a quarter of firms said they had significant problems securing access to credit, with 17pc experiencing a deterioration in the last three months.

And only 5pc of firms noted an improvement in the credit situation.

The survey covered 320 chartered accountants working in senior positions, including as chief executives, in large companies.

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