Saturday 14 December 2019

It's an ill wind that blows no good

The financial crises in Greece and Spain have sent the value of the euro plunging to near two-year lows against sterling and the dollar, with the single currency trading at under 80p and $1.25 yesterday.

While this might be bad news for anyone planning a holiday in either the UK or the US, it is a very different story for the Irish economy as a whole.

With most of our foreign trade being conducted in either sterling or dollars, a lower euro exchange rate makes our exports more competitive in the key British and American markets. It also makes Ireland a cheaper country to visit for British and American tourists, while Irish producers also receive a boost in the domestic market as imports become more expensive.

Whisper it not, but a cheaper euro acts as a stimulus for the entire Irish economy, both the export sector and the hard-pressed domestic economy where most of us earn our living.

Admittedly more by accident than design, the so-called "growth agenda" is getting an airing.

While we greatly sympathise with the Spaniards and the Greeks in their current predicament, truly it's an ill wind that blows no good.

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