‘Overwhelming’ upsurge in business sentiment

A new study from employers’ representative body, Ibec reveals an “overwhelming” improvement in sentiment among Irish firms during the last quarter.

The group’s latest quarterly business sentiment survey — published today — shows the highest reading ever and its first overall positive reading since it began four years ago.

Additionally, firms’ expectations for the next three months have grown faster than current business confidence, both in their own firms and the economy as a whole, signalling improving prospects driven by expectations of increased sales, a growing customer base and higher profitability.

Own business confidence recorded a third consecutive high at +30, up from +23 in the second quarter, and the forward-looking index reached +36, up from +26 in the previous quarter.

Companies’ perception of the overall business environment also improved strongly in the period, with the index recording a series high of +17 points. The employment intentions index, meanwhile, was positive for the third consecutive quarter, indicating further job growth in the second half of the year.

“This is the strongest set of sentiment data we have seen since we started the survey in 2009. It shows that business conditions are steadily improving and points towards solid economic growth over the coming quarters. Recent indicators have also pointed to an improvement in the mood of consumers.

“It’s good to have the budget over with earlier in the year and we should enter 2014 in a significantly stronger position than recent years,” said Fergal O’Brien, Ibec’s head of policy and chief economist.


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