Cork deemed largely Brexit-ready

Cork, and the south-west in general, is better-positioned than other regions in Ireland to deal with Brexit-related challenges, and is primed to benefit from in-bound job relocations, according to specialist bank Investec.

Ongoing investment, lower office rental costs, lower unemployment rates than the national average and above average job creation rates have led Investec to suggest that the region is better prepared.

“The labour market provides the most visible illustration of the economic renaissance that is underway,” according to Kieran Ferguson, who heads up Investec’s Munster office.

“The south-west is seeing extraordinary rates of job creation, with total employment rising 6.8%, year-on-year, in the second quarter. This is nearly three times the national rate of job creation.

“Unemployment across Cork and Kerry stands at just 4.8%, the lowest of all the regions of Ireland.”

“While Brexit is posing challenges for parts of the economy, it is also creating significant opportunities,” added Sinead Lohan, of Investec’s corporate and treasury team. “Scarely a week goes by without news of further Brexit-related job relocations to Ireland. While much of the focus, up to now, has been on Dublin, we think that Cork is really strongly positioned to claim a piece of the action.”

To back this up, Ms Lohan pointed to prime office rents in Cork city being half of that quoted in Dublin and 15% of Cork’s office stock being currently available, with a number of grade A developments in the pipeline.

Investec’s chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said the world economy being in its best condition since the financial crisis should have a significant positive knock-on effect for the Cork economy.

“According to the IMF, global GDP will expand by 3.5% this year and by a further 3.6% in 2018. Cork and the wider south-west region plays host to major IT, pharma and agri-food enterprises who are leveraged to developments across the world economy.

“Put simply, faster global growth automatically leads to an acceleration in the rate of economic expansion in this part of Ireland. The outlook, therefore, for Cork and its hinterland is especially encouraging at this time.”

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