Belfast Telegraph

Economic optimism 'on a high' in Republic

By Gretchen Friemann

Irish business sentiment has climbed to levels not seen since the crash as the improving conditions boost growth for the widest range of industries in over 10 years.

The benign outlook was captured in KBC and Chartered Accountants Ireland's latest quarterly survey of the nation's business climate.

While Brexit remains a core concern for executives from all sectors, adverse trading conditions are now affecting the smallest number of companies since the survey's inception in the final quarter of 2006.

Austin Hughes, chief economist at KBC Ireland, said the results illustrate that the spread of growth economic growth has returned to pre-crisis levels.

He said the survey, which he characterised as not statistically precise and designed to offer a snapshot of the economy, shows growth is expanding at a more "modest" pace than portrayed in the official figures compiled by the Republic's Central Statistics Office.

Gross domestic product for the third quarter accelerated 10.5% but this often volatile measure of economic activity contrasts with the survey's findings, which suggest "an underlying economic growth" hit a rate of about 5% in late 2017.

Mr Hughes claimed this pace of expansion still outstrips "most other EU nations".

While fewer businesses than at any time in 11 years are reporting weak trading conditions, the economic momentum remains concentrated in Dublin, with some 87% of respondents describing higher growth rates in the Republic's capital.

Brexit remains a core concern with 42% of respondents become more sceptical or unsure about the outcome of the United Kingdom's divorce negotiations with the EU.

Belfast Telegraph

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