ACCORDING to the KBC Bank Ireland/Chartered Accountants Ireland Business Sentiment Survey for Summer 2014, business confidence remained steady in the second quarter of the year.
This indicates that the economic conditions which affect the Irish business sector have not changed much over the past six to nine months, following a noticeable improvement during the second half of last year.
The survey indicates ongoing increases in activity levels in Irish business, and improved activity in the months ahead is also expected, even if the pace of growth slows.
The survey details show a further increase in activity levels in Irish business in the past three months, with 56% of companies reporting a rise in their output – the highest number since the spring of 2007.
Additionally, decline in activity is at its lowest in seven years, with just 12% of companies reporting a drop-off in activity. According to the survey, these findings point towards healthy conditions across a broad range of Irish business.
Commenting on the results, Pat Costello, chief executive of Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “Irish companies are reporting steady rather than spectacular increases in output in mid-2014, but this should be seen as the continuation of very healthy growth, rather than any pointer to weaker conditions.
“The business sector was relatively early to see and signal the emerging upswing that is only now being captured in indicators such as GDP.
“As such, the sentiment survey suggests further gains in GDP and jobs as 2014 progresses. The survey signals that hiring is now at its strongest since mid-2007, and is particularly encouraging in this regard.”
Austin Hughes, chief economist with KBC Bank Ireland, said: “The marginal decline in the business sentiment index may be disappointing, but it isn’t at all surprising, given the dramatic improvement reported in the second half of last year.
“The survey is designed to capture changes in business conditions. So, these results point to step gains of late, rather than any seismic change in activity levels.
“In turn, this reflects the reality of a recovery that is healthy but far from a return to the boom,” he said.