Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Irish businesses most optimistic in Europe

RTE News:

Irish business owners are the most optimistic in Europe and rank second globally. This is according to the fourth Grant Thornton International Business Owners Survey, which is conducted in 30 countries around the world.

The survey reveals that 85% of Irish business owners are positive about the coming year, up from 79% in 2005. In Ireland, 77% of businesses surveyed expect turnover to increase, up 14% on the previous year. 32% expect employment increases, up 9% and 30% see selling prices rising - an increase of 6%.

The survey shows that other key indicators, while still positive, are down on last year's survey. 52% of Irish businesses expect their profitability to increase (down 7%) while 48% see more investment in new plant and machinery(down 10%).

The most optimistic business owners of all, for the third year, are in India with an optimism/pessimism balance of 93%, up from 88%, 83% and 25% in the previous three surveys.

Overall, the survey shows that businesses in 26 out of 30 countries are optimistic about their economy's performance. Optimism has improved in 13 countries over the last year. However in major industralised countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, France and Italy, the mood is now less confident.

'The Irish economy continues to confound even the most benign predictions of a slowdown,' commented Gearoid Costelloe from Grant Thornton.

He said last month's Budget helped the situation by not interfering in the two key areas of the economy - construction and retail.

'While a lot of international commentators have concerns about our private debt burden this is partly offset by the quality of the asset base that many borrowers are accumulating and the hope of continued low interest rates. It would seem that the Irish business sector has a lot to be confidence about for 2006,' he adds.

Irish business owners optimistic

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