Sentiment uneven for regions: BoI

A survey that canvasses both business and consumers shows Irish confidence in the economic recovery has improved, but employers are still less upbeat than before the UK voted last summer to leave the EU.

The Bank of Ireland July survey — based on the views of 1,000 households and over 2,000 firms — and which is used by the EU, also shows that economic sentiment fell in Dublin, but that confidence in the capital is still far ahead of the rest of Leinster, Munster and the Connacht-Ulster region.

The disparity between the regions was a major issue in the general election last year and may be again if an early election is called.

Reflecting the evidence of official economic figures and other private surveys, the July survey showed firms felt more confident than in June and those in manufacturing, services, and construction were the most confident.

The Government is increasingly depending on tax receipts from consumer taxes to meet its budget targets this year. And, as it prepares to draw up Budget 2018, it may be boosted by the survey findings that consumers are increasingly upbeat. The consumer component of the survey though little changed in the month was nonetheless at its highest level since the Brexit vote.

“Households appear to be getting to grips with the two big curve balls of 2016: The UK’s decision to leave the EU and Trump taking the reins at the Oval office,” said group chief economist Loretta O’Sullivan.

“Ongoing employment and income gains contributed to this,” she said.

Meanwhile, the IDA chief Martin Shanahan has moved to dispel impressions Ireland is losing out to Frankfurt and Luxembourg in luring London-based banks, who must transfer some head- office operations because of Brexit.

He said businesses setting up Brexit bases here include JP Morgan’s plans to double its workforce in Dublin; Bank of America’s choice of Dublin for its main legal operations; Barclays’ use of an existing banking license; Citi’s expectations to expand a range of banking functions; as well as insurer Legal & General’s plans and a project for a new Dublin office by law firm Pinsent Masons.

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