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Ireland the only EU country where business sentiment is up

An international study from Grant Thornton reckons Irish businesses are far more optimistic about 2012 than they were for 2011.

Image: .reid. via Flickr

A NEW INTERNATIONAL study reveals Ireland as being the only country in the European Union where business leaders are more optimistic about the future than this time last year.

The report from management services company Grant Thornton found that 30 per cent of Irish businesses were either very or slightly optimistic about the economic outlook in 2012.

This compares to a 20 per cent share in 2011 – and makes Ireland the only EU member where this optimism has grown in the last twelve months.

Irish optimism puts us slightly ahead of the EU average, where 29 per cent of business leaders are optimistic about the economy – down a massive 20 per cent from last year’s survey.

72 per cent of Irish businesses said they expected their revenue to increase or remain the same, while 79 per cent had the same expectations about their profitability.

65 per cent of companies expected R&D spending to increase or remain unchanged, while 78 per cent of senior executives felt selling prices would not fall this year.

Grant Thornton partner Pat Burke said the Irish optimism reflected how Ireland had been battling with the financial crisis for longer than most European countries.

“Although business failures have been prominent since the downturn began, Irish companies have responded to the Darwinian choice of adapt or disappear with a more fit-for-purpose offering.

He added, however, that the economy would continue to face significant challenges – with managers feeling less optimistic about exports, a sector which is intended to drive any economic recovery.

Irish export expectations, while still positive, have fallen from a ten-year high in 2011 from 36 per cent expecting exports to increase in the coming year, to 31 per cent.

Irish businesses were the fifth most optimistic out of 13 EU countries surveyed – up from 12th last year.

Leaders from 11,500 businesses in 40 economies were surveyed for GT’s International Business Report.

One in five expect salaries to rise in 2012, says survey of professionals

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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