An ERSI/KBC survey on consumer sentiment showed confidence was at a 2 year low in December where it dropped to 96.2 from 97.8 in November. According to Austin Hughes of KBC this decline could be attributed to the average Irish person who viewed the Irish economy in 2016 as ‘over-promising and under-delivering’ re. living standards. Brexit and the US election also had a part to play with uncertainty regarding how this will be played out in 2017.
The proposed European Commission to have a CCCTB (Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base) has been opposed by 6 countries. The CCCTB would mean all multinationals in the EU who earn over €50m would have a universal tax code. Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg and Holland were the objectors. It is now unlikely the proposal will pass.
Davy Stockbrokers have cut their Irish economic growth forecast for 2017 to 3.7%, from an original 4%. Brexit is a key threat to the Irish economy and according to Davy’s ‘a sharp depreciation of sterling remains a risk’ once Article 50 is triggered. One of the reasons was that exports were weaker than expected. Consumer spending is expected to grow by 3% for 2017.
Ireland suffered €3bn economic losses since 1980 due to climate change hazards such as flooding according to the European Environment Agency. 53% of the damages were covered by Insurance, with the State meeting the remainder. In total, the EU had suffered losses of €400bn between 1980 and 2013. 2016 was the hottest year on record.
SME lending rose by 5% during Summer 2016 when compared to the same period in 2015. However the price of credit remains high at 5.5%. Those refused credit however has risen to 16% in 2016 vs 11% in 2015.
The amount of development projects in Belfast is almost at a ten-year high according to research by Deloitte Real Estate. The projects include hotels, office developments, student accommodation and education units.
Unemployment has fallen to 7.1% according to latest official figures – the lowest since the economic crash. The January figures show 154,800 were classed as being unemployed, showing an annual decrease of 29,800. The male unemployment rate was 7.9%, and 6% for women. Youth unemployment rates were 13.5%.
The subsidiary of De Beere diamonds, Element Six, announced an additional 100 jobs at Shannon bringing a welcome boost to the area. It is part of a €7m investment spend and the jobs will be in engineering and manufacturing. The total amount of employees at the facility will now rise to 550. Element Six manufacture synthetic diamond material.
Retail sales by volume for December decreased 2.7% when compared to the previous month. This figure excludes the motor trade.
Part of the Governments new ‘Realising Our Rural Potential’ which will see investment of €60m, involves protecting rural schools and commercial rates for small businesses. It is also proposed to increase the connective fights at Cork and Shannon airports.
Irish imports grew in value terms by 18% for November to €6.15bn. The value of exports grew by 1% to €10.2bn for the same month. The trade surplus for November was 20%. The EU accounts for 50% of our total exports with a value of €5.4bn and of this, €1.6bn went to the UK, with Belgium taking €1.3bn. Belgium is the amongst the largest global drug redistribution hubs and most of Ireland’s pharma exports that are not US bound, are mainly Belgian bound. The main non-EU destination was the USA who took in €2.9bn worth of our total exports for November.