Irish economy to be eurozone's fastest-growing through to 2024


Ireland is to be the fastest-growing economy in the eurozone out to 2024, PwC has forecast.

The Irish economy is projected to show GDP growth of 3.5pc in 2018 and average growth of 2.8pc for the period 2020 to 2024, compared to eurozone average growth of 2.2pc and 1.6pc respectively for these periods.

"This strong economic growth in Ireland is based on continued investment and household consumption growth as well as continuing FDI flows," said Feargal O'Rourke, PwC Ireland managing partner.

"This is boosted by a favourable business environment, decreasing unemployment as well as positive economic news in the eurozone expected to boost Irish exports."

The figures were contained in the PwC global CEO report, published to coincide with the start of the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine town Davos. Politicians, business chiefs, bankers and celebrities will meet under the banner 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World' for the four-day gathering against an unsettling global backdrop.

A decade after the bankruptcy of US investment bank Lehman Brothers helped trigger a global financial crisis, economic growth has returned and stock markets are hitting record highs.

Yet there is a nagging fear among many in Davos that the brighter economic outlook could turn out to be little more than a mirage if the daunting array of geopolitical threats - from protectionism and climate change to cyberattacks and outright war - gather pace in 2018.

Politicians from around the world, including US President Donald Trump, and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, will descend on the picturesque location for the three-day gathering.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will also attend.

The PwC report found that a record-breaking share of CEOs are optimistic about the economic environment worldwide, at least in the short-term.

Fifty-seven percent of business leaders say they believe global economic growth will improve in the next 12 months.

That's almost twice the level of last year (29pc) and the largest-ever increase since PwC began asking about global growth in 2012.

Optimism in global growth has more than doubled in the US after a period of uncertainty surrounding the election.

Mr O'Rourke said the optimism in Ireland should be tempered by the fact that uncertainties still exist. "Global tax reform together with the impact of the US tax overhaul is a priority on many Irish boardroom agendas," he said.

"Uncertainties continue to loom around Brexit, and technological disruption will redefine how we work and live.

"We see companies tackling these challenges head on as they continue to invest in their businesses and their people, building markets and using technology to innovate how they operate."

The Global Risks Report published by the WEF last week showed that many see a heightened risk of political and economic confrontations between major powers this year.

The forum will open today with a speech by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and end on Friday, when Mr Trump is due to address the massive auditorium. (Additional reporting