, Published: 16/09/2014

IRELAND has moved to the top position of European exporters in terms of confidence, a new report shows.

Confidence among Irish firms is up two points to 119 in the second quarter of the year, the HSBC’s Trade Confidence Index shows based on growth in key markets.

It was boosted by a better outlook and strong economic growth in exports to the US and UK but also plans to move into less tradition markets like India and China.

“As a dynamic and very open economy, trade prospects look positive for Ireland in the short and medium term, aided by robust expansions in the US and UK economies,” said HSBC Ireland chief executive, Alan Duffy.

“Greater endeavours to diversify trade towards fast-growing emerging economies would boost this picture further and our expertise in high-level manufacturing should help in this respect, as incomes in emerging economies continue to climb,” he added.

While we still need to improve links with developing countries, the faster growing markets are expected to be in Asian and countries like China, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Nearly 70pc of respondents to the survey expect trade volumes to increase over the next six months – this is up 65pc compared with the last survey in March.

Chemicals and pharmaceuticals remain strong as well as agribusiness.

Agribusiness exports are expected to be up 30pc by 2030.