The Irish are more confident about international trade than any of their European counterparts, according to a new study.
The HSBC Trade Confidence Index shows 70% of Irish respondents expect trade to rise over the next six months, up 5% on the last data from March. The speed of the pickup in recovery in the UK and US is credited for the uptick, with Ireland also tipped to increase its exports to emerging markets in the coming years.
The US remains Ireland's top export market, followed by the UK, Germany, France and Japan. However, by 2030 China is expected to be fourth in the list.
Between 2014 and 2016, Vietnam is expected to be the strongest growth market for Irish exporters (20%). Between 2017 and 2020, China will provide the greatest growth (13%) and again between 2021 and 2030 (11%), HSBC said.
The bank highlighted Ireland's agri sector, which accounts for 10% of total goods exported, for special praise. Total agricultural exports are tipped to grow by 40% by 2030.
Ireland has also successfully exported agricultural production in recent years. Large dairy producers such as Glanbia and Kerry Foods have been opening plants in the Middle East and South East Asia, capitalising on relatively immature dairy markets which, as they continue to develop, are acquiring tastes for such products.
"The latest survey saw the Trade Confidence Index rise from 117 to 119, the highest among the European countries surveyed. Meanwhile, an increasing proportion of Irish firms are confident that trade volumes will rise over the next six months and that the global economy will grow over the same period. That said, the share of firms expecting a significant rather than slight pick-up in trading volumes dropped from 12% in the last survey to 9%," the report's authors said.
Meanwhile, the UK's much-documented economic recovery, which has placed it as the fastest growing major developed economy this year, according to the International Monetary Fund, remains domestically based.
Exporters report increased confidence, however, with emerging Asia, again, viewed as the most fertile ground for new exports in the coming decades.
"While the UK economy has turned in an impressive performance over the past year, the recovery has continued to be a largely domestic affair, with consumer spending and investment making the running. And with foreign demand [weighted by UK export shares] unlikely to see a marked upsurge in growth and import demand set to be robust, it is doubtful whether this picture will change significantly," said the survey.