Businesses positive about Irish economy


Irish businesses are still positive about the economy, although general uncertainty and concern about inflation have increased, the latest business sentiment survey suggests.

The survey, conducted by Irish Intercontinental Bank (IIB) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI), also reports a majority of respondents as believing that Government election promises were based on over optimistic forecasts for the economy.

Some 54.5 per cent of businesses said business conditions had improved of late, while 51.5 per cent were confident about conditions remaining good in the coming three months, according to the survey. However, 40.4 per cent described themselves as being "increasingly uncertain" about the economy's longer term outlook. When asked whether they thought the political parties election promises were affordable, 20.4 per cent said political parties had been "extremely optimistic" about the economy, while a further 46.7 per cent said they had been "slightly optimistic".

IIB chief economist Austin Hughes said there was a disjoint between corporate experience of their immediate business environment and their views of the economy generally. "Business sentiment is responding to a general unease rather than a specific deterioration in the climate in which they operate," he said.

Mr Hughes added that business conditions remained very positive by international standards. "In any other country what we are seeing would be regarded as extraordinary. In our own case it is encouraging."

However, he warned that rising costs were becoming a serious issue for business.