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Economy in Brief

Irish Confidence Hits 17-Year High
by Robert Brusca  February 12, 2018

Irish consumer confidence is at a 17-year high. That puts it more or less in the same league as the reading for the overall EMU area in terms of its relative strength.

For Ireland the current index (with a history back to 1996) has never had a higher reading. Sentiment has a 17-year high. Expectations were last higher in January 2016.

Conditions in Ireland have improved especially sharply over the last three months. However, year-on-year it is expectations that have advanced faster.

Ireland is one of the EMU nations that is gaining from the losses being suffered by Britain as it ponders a new set of relationships under Brexit. A number of banking houses have announced plans for a beefed up presence in Ireland as London is going to prove insufficient as a base for them to conduct business in the EMU in a post-Brexit world.

The Irish Times newspaper has reported that the Irish development Agency (IDA) has fielded 80 inquiries from firms asking about moving operations to Ireland. It also reports that about a dozen firms have made the decision to locate in Ireland but that they would not be announcing that publically until the application process was complete.

Ireland also is benefiting from ongoing advances in its manufacturing and services sectors as its PMIs have moved up with manufacturing just barely off a five-year high and services also respectively strong.

Irish confidence shows the bulk of its post-recession recovery had been made by 2015. Manufacturing got its second wind and made some of its best advances since mid-2016 with a second push late in 2017. Services pushed higher in late-2016 after a long slide, but unlike manufacturing that held its ground. Services slipped again; its late-2017 leg up did not send the index to such a strong position relative to its history. But generally, manufacturing, services and confidence are all on a solid track now and Ireland's economy is performing well with solid prospects as Brexit seems destined to chase more business over its door step.

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