Irish Business Activity Shows Upturn
First Published Wednesday, 25th April 2012 12:15 am - © 2012 Dow Jones
DUBLIN -- Irish business activity showed its strongest improvement in more than four years, but recovery for the troubled euro-zone economy will take some time to take hold, according to the KBC Bank and Chartered Accountants Ireland Spring 2012 survey published Wednesday.
The survey also found that job gains matched job losses in the quarter, suggesting that Irish unemployment will peak at around the current rate of 14.3%.
"It remains the case that the environment is tough and companies in areas such as construction, or those focused on the domestic consumer, continue to report weaker demand," said John Hannaway, president of Chartered Accountants Ireland.
"However, at an aggregate level, there seems to have been a pickup in business volumes of late and there is also an expectation of further modest gains in the months ahead. As a result, the spring 2012 survey is the most positive business climate reading we have seen since late 2007."
Irish businesses will struggle with low levels of consumer demand over the next 12 months, but they expect economic recovery will "firmly" take hold in the next three years, the survey found.
Reckless lending by banks to property developers during Ireland's boom years led to a debt crisis for the Irish government when it stepped in to rescue the banking system. Since 2007, Irish unemployment has soared to 14.3% from about 4.5%.
The survey found Irish businesses are significantly uncertain about the effects of the new European Union fiscal treaty on Irish government finances in future years. Ireland votes in a public referendum on May 31 on whether to endorse the budget-discipline treaty.
The survey is based on responses provided in early April by chartered accountants employed in senior positions in Irish firms.