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Irish firms 'would lose out' if UK leaves EU

by Colm Kelpie

Irish firms selling to the UK market could be 30% less competitive by June than they were in January if Britain votes to pull out of the EU, due to the knock-on effect on sterling, Ireland's biggest business group has claimed.

Sterling has already weakened in recent months as uncertainty over the outcome of the June 23 referendum takes its toll on the currency. One euro is worth around 78/79p compared with 69p in November.

Business lobby group Ibec said it is likely that sterling will weaken further against the euro to as much as 85p before polling day.

"In the very aftermath of a possible Brexit, analysts have suggested that the sterling/euro exchange rate would move toward or above parity and could fall to around £0.75 if the referendum result is a vote to stay in the EU," Ibec said.

"A Brexit therefore could leave Irish firms selling into the UK market 30% less competitive by June than they were in January through exchange rate movements alone," Ibec added.

Belfast Telegraph