Business optimism in the Republic has fallen to a nine-year low as firms' expectations of 2020 growth dim amid unrelenting Brexit gloom, an AIB-commissioned report has found.
The survey of executives at 650 manufacturing and services companies recorded reduced optimism for growth, labour costs, prices, profits and capital expenditure.
The data compiled by analyst firm IHS Markit rates sentiment on a scale from -100, indicating universal pessimism, to +100 for unanimous optimism.
Latest figures put expectations of 2020 growth at +27, which indicates a narrow majority of firms still expect to grow. It was +32 in July, +35 in February and above +50 a year ago.
AIB said its measure of business optimism, published since 2006, last dropped into the +20s in 2010 - a time when the Irish state was close to bankruptcy and on the verge of a bailout.
Hilary Gormley, AIB's head of corporate, institutional and business banking, said: "While still in positive territory, the latest round of data gathered for the AIB Ireland Business Activity Report shows a continued period of reduced optimism among Irish businesses. It is clear that the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and its broader potential impact on the Irish economy is dampening sentiment."