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Positive economic environment for SMEs but caution creeping into the mix, according to latest SME Market Monitor

4th October 2018

The latest EY-DKM/BPFI SME Market Monitor, October 2018, prepared by EY-DKM Economic Advisory Services and published today by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), shows that while the economic environment in which SMEs are operating remains positive, there is evidence of a sense of caution and uncertainty creeping into the mix.

Tracking trends across 15 different indicators which are important for the performance of the SME sector, the latest EY-DKM/BPFI SME Market Monitor provides a good barometer of the current environment for Irish SMEs.  That environment is summed up by Annette Hughes, Director, EY-DKM Economic Advisory in her commentary, where she states: “The economic environment in which SMEs operate remains considerably positive, based on a review of the vast majority of macroeconomic indicators tracked in this SME Monitor.”

However, Hughes also notes a sense of caution and uncertainty creeping into the mix, as reflected in volatile consumer sentiment in response to concerns around global developments such as Brexit and the potential of a global trade war:

“The 15 economic indicators tracked suggest that the economic environment for SMEs is quite positive.  However, a hint of caution must be applied, as ongoing threats such as a No-Deal Brexit scenario and the increasing possibility of a global trade war, pose serious risks to the Irish economy.  How these risks pan out over the coming months remains to be seen, but they are undoubtedly creeping into the overall mix”, states Hughes.

Commenting on these findings, Maurice Crowley, BPFI’s Acting Chief Executive, added:

“Uncertainty seems to be a factor in leading some firms not to invest at this point in time.  Last week’s ESRI Special Article* suggests an investment or capital gap exists for one in five enterprises.  Yet firms need to invest in people as well as in fixed and other assets in order to grow.  Our own “Innovation and Growth in the Business Sector” conference last week saw lenders, business representative groups and policy makers agree that under-investment by business is a matter of collective interest and concern.”

The EY-DKM/BPFI SME Market Monitor can be viewed on the BPFI website here and on



*”Exploring SME Investment Patterns in Ireland: New Survey Evidence”, ESRI Special Article by Eric Gargan (Dept of Finance) and Martina Lawless, Maria Martinez-Cillero and Conor O’Toole (ESRI).

 Note: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland is the voice of banking and payments in Ireland, representing some 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, BPFI, Ph: 01 4748835 / 087 9016880
Pia Phelan, Senior Communications Manager, EY Ireland, Ph: 087 9327702

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