Firms 'expecting decade of growth'
Almost three-quarters of Northern Ireland businesses anticipate steady and sustained growth over the next decade, according to a report.
Despite strong economic headwinds including rising unemployment, high demand for debt relief and weak consumer demand, Northern Ireland company owners are the most positive in all UK regions about the potential for 10 years' time, said the report for Barclays.
Two-thirds of business leaders felt there would be much more foreign ownership of UK assets over the next decade.
Adrian Doran, head of Barclays' corporate Northern Ireland operation, said: "It is very encouraging that many businesses believe in the fundamental strength of Northern Ireland as a place to do business, and hopefully underlines that many of the challenges we are currently experiencing are temporary rather than permanent.
"It is also telling to see that locally based businesses are more positive about their region than the UK as a whole, showing the importance of regional development.
"The fact that 70% of Northern Ireland businesses are anticipating steady and sustained economic growth over the next decade should also be welcome news for a Government that is focused on developing a growth strategy."
He said the proposed changes to corporation tax could also boost investment.
The survey said 70% of Northern Ireland businesses expect steady and sustained growth over the next decade.
The research is based on a survey of 664 businesses of all sizes across the UK, and is part of a wider report on the predicted business landscape in a decade, 'Business 2021', which will be released next month. The sample includes 51 companies from Northern Ireland.
When asked to identify areas of growth, 89% of businesses in Northern Ireland identified the technology sector as one of the areas most likely to fuel economic growth over the next decade, while 86% cited the hospitality and tourism sector and 71% the manufacturing sector.