Weaker euro helps boost economy
The economy remains on track to expand by about 1% this year despite difficult international market conditions, it has been claimed.
Business group IBEC believes Ireland will benefit from the weaker euro more than any other eurozone country, ensuring exports drive gross domestic product (GDP) - the value of all goods and services being produced in the country - up.
Falling interest rates will also cut average mortgage costs by 2,000 euro this year, increasing the spending power of households, its latest quarterly economic outlook has forecast.
However consumer spending remains very weak and poor weather would further hit the domestic economy, Ibec said.
Fergal O'Brien, chief economist, said: "International trading conditions are tough at the moment given the sharp slowdown in almost all markets since the start of the year, but Irish exporters are faring relatively well.
"The weaker euro is a major positive for Ireland.
"When coupled with the hard gained competitiveness improvements of recent years, it means that Irish companies can grow both revenues and market share in what are largely stagnant international markets."
Mr O'Brien said Ireland sold 62% of its exports to markets outside the eurozone last year, well above the average for other member states.
Elsewhere the annual average euro exchange rate this year against both the dollar and sterling is likely to be about 10% weaker than in 2011.
"The Irish economy will benefit more from this than any other eurozone country," he continued.