Irish business optimism and economic growth at eurozone high

17th February 2015

Ireland is on course to have the strongest growth in the Eurozone this year, with a host of figures suggesting households are regaining financial confidence while business optimism and economic growth are at the highest levels in the European Union (EU).

Consumer confidence has reached nine-year high levels, with households expecting income to rise for the first time since mid-2007.

The ESRI/KBC Bank Consumer Sentiment Index suggests falling oil prices, modest income tax cuts and encouraging post-Christmas sales have buoyed confidence.

Ireland is set to remain the fastest-growing economy in the EU with growth of 3.5 per cent predicted in 2015.

This comes hot off the heels of a declaration from Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, who stated that austerity was over in Ireland.

A leading ratings agency has also said property prices in Ireland should see the strongest gains in Europe this year.

Standard and Poor’s predict prices to rise by nine per cent due to falling unemployment, the improving economy and increasing demand for homes.

Businesses are also seeing the positive effects of the economic upturn, with new research from Grant Thornton finding Irish business owners to be the most optimistic in the EU for growth in 2015.

More than three-quarters (82 per cent) of businesses in Ireland anticipate growth this year, just ahead of those in the UK and Australia.

Patrick Burke, of Grant Thornton, said: “The survey shows that Irish businesses continue to remain optimistic and companies look set to grow employment and profits in 2015.

“This optimism, however, must be viewed in the context of the low point, the financial crisis, from which business in Ireland have come.

“In many ways, 2014 was the first year since the financial crisis where Irish businesses felt they were really back on track.”

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