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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Feb 22, 2011 - 7:26 AM


All-Ireland survey shows costs rising for business; Economic recovery amongst exporters likely to be jobless
By Finfacts Team
Feb 21, 2011 - 3:27 AM

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The results of an all-Ireland business survey shows that while competiveness has improved, global cost pressures are making a difficult trading environment even tougher. 50% of businesses have witnessed an increase in supplier costs compared with 12 months ago. The survey also shows that the economic recovery amongst exporters is likely to be jobless.

The poll of more than 1,000 cross-border business managers, shows that 69% of businesses have seen an increase in energy costs, with 59% experiencing an increase in transport costs and 57% experiencing an increase in rates and taxes. Similarly, 49% have seen an increase in the cost of insurance and professional fees. In summary, 82% of business North and South do not expect any decrease in the cost of doing business over the next 12 months.

On the positive side, businesses located in the South are shopping around with 37% of businesses having switched electricity supplier. The research, which was undertaken by Perceptive Insight and Oxford Economics on behalf of InterTradeIreland over October to December, also indicates that while export companies are increasing revenues (28%), that this is not resulting in job creation, with only 7% increasing employment pointing to a jobless recovery.

On the export side, companies are twice as likely to have increased sales as those focused on the domestic market and 44% are expecting an increase in sales over the next 12 months.

InterTradeIreland was established under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, as the all-island Trade & Business Development Body, with the remit to "exchange information and co-ordinate work on trade, business development and related matters, in areas where the two administrations specifically agree it would be in their mutual interest." It is the only organisation which supports SMEs across the island to develop North/South trade and business development opportunities for the mutual benefit of both economies.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Aidan Gough, director of Strategy and Policy at InterTradeIreland said,
“Improvements in cost competitiveness are in danger of being jeopardized as companies are indicating that they are experiencing rising costs from many of their suppliers, coupled with rising energy and transportation costs. The imperative is to ensure that Ireland remains competitive especially where we have control over costs in relation to rates and taxes.

While exports will drive economic growth, it is equally disappointing to learn that this recovery is likely to be jobless, with exporters experiencing revenue growth but unlikely to increase employee numbers over the medium term. There is considerably better prospects for those companies that are exporting which points further to the need, more than ever, for increased trade between North and South.

The period under review has clearly been a challenging one for businesses across Ireland and has been one of the least optimistic that we have seen since we commenced reviewing sentiment amongst businesses across Ireland. However, this may reflect the adverse weather and the arrival of the IMF in November.”

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