World Economy

Ireland Economic Confidence Falls

Ireland Economic Confidence FallsIreland Economic Confidence Falls

Brexit’s chill wind is whistling through the corridors of Ireland’s businesses, with the number of chief executives who see blue skies ahead for the Irish economy having fallen significantly over the past year, according to a new report from accountancy and advisory firm PwC.

Just 58% of the 200 company bosses surveyed by PwC now have a favorable outlook for the Irish economy—down from 71% this time last year, Business World reported.

And most of the country’s leading business men and women believe high personal taxes, rising wage costs and a lack of affordable housing are key challenges for their companies.

The sharp drop in overall economic confidence also coincides with 68% of executives demanding that the government make developing a clear national strategy to deal with Brexit a top priority.

PwC managing partner Feargal O’Rourke said confidence levels were only “down slightly” on last year’s CEO Pulse survey. “This is hardly surprising given concerns relating to Brexit and other geopolitical factors,” he said.

He pointed out that many chief executives in Ireland are still planning for growth despite the uncertainty created by the UK’s planned exit from the European Union in 2019. Many of the CEOs are focusing on export markets to achieve growth, he said.

“Overall, in weighing up the opportunities and uncertainties, CEOs are slightly more cautious in their outlook with a consequent impact on the pace of investment decisions,” said O’Rourke. “Nevertheless they remain focused on the growth potential of their businesses.”

The survey found that despite their concerns, 49% of chief executives still expect to hire more staff in the coming year. But a lack of skilled staff is hampering their efforts to expand, with 81% concerned about the availability of key skills.


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