Firms confident of growth on strong start to the year

Irish business has made a strong start to 2013 and although there has been little increase in hiring, companies are confident of achieving growth.

The KBC Bank Ireland and Chartered Accountants Ireland spring 2013 survey shows that business activity grew in the first three months of the year and that twice as many companies reported growth than decline.

However, KBC economist Austin Hughes said there had been no significant upswing in the economy, but the fact that confidence remains is positive.

“In view of the relatively weak conditions prevailing in the euro area and the UK of late, as well as the impact of Budget 2013 on domestic purchasing power, a stable and reasonably significant favourable activity balance should probably be regarded as a fairly positive outcome,” said Mr Hughes.

The area that recorded the largest increase in activity was business services, but the construction sector and consumer-orientated companies also recorded growth.

Mr Hughes said that, looking at the overall economy, it appeared there were fewer obstacles to be overcome.

“In other words, the Spring 2013 Business Sentiment Survey suggests that headwinds to recovery may be diminishing but there are few signs that broadly favourable tailwinds are emerging,” he said.

Mr Hughes pointed out that the number of firms expecting growth has remained static at 44%, but that there has been a huge fall in the number anticipating decline, which has resulted in the increase overall in the survey.


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