As Ireland continues to be an important business location for multinational companies in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, we forecast a positive outlook for corporate activity in 2017, particularly in the sectors of IT & telecoms, life sciences, energy and food.
Back in 1964, Bob Dylan sang "The times they are a changing". Fast forward to 2017 and one must wonder what this Nobel Laureate would now sing given the unprecedented changes taking place in the world, particularly those affecting two of Ireland's main trading partners, the United States of America and Great Britain.
Ireland as a small island with an open economy which is built on international trade will always be affected by political and economic changes in the EU and the US. We have been here in (too!) recent times; the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers triggering a global recession and resulting in Ireland requiring EU-IMF financial assistance in 2010.
Since then the Irish economy has performed strongly. GDP growth for 2016 is expected to be 4.2% with forecasted growth of 3.5% in 2017, significantly higher than EU and OECD equivalents. Unemployment at 7.3% of the labour force in late 2016 is forecasted to fall to 6.8% by the end of 2017 (down from a high of 15.1% in 2012). Gross Irish Government debt peaked as a percentage of GDP in 2013 at 119.5%. This debt ratio is expected to have fallen to 76% by the end of 2016.
The recovery in the Irish economy has been driven by a number of key factors:
a young, well-educated, and highly adaptable workforce with relatively stable labour costs a population which is pro enterprise, accepts change, and is positively focused on the future a progressive tax system which encourages economic growth in an environment of legal and fiscal stability one of the most advanced and competitive IT and telecoms infrastructures in Europe membership of the EU and Euro currency zone providing easy access to the EU internal market We wait to see how President Trump's economic plans and Britain's triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon will affect the global economy and Ireland in particular. Forecasts of immediate economic Armageddon by some commentators have proven to be misjudged and ill...