The latest trade confidence index from HSBC puts Ireland at the top of the list in Europe in trade terms. A majority of respondents also expect trade volumes to grow in the coming months.

Alan Duffy, HSBC Ireland 's chief executive, said a strong economic performance in our traditional markets in the UK and the US is providing an impetus to export growth. "They're well trodden markets. We understand them and our cultural links are very strong. When you consider that this index looks at 6,000 companies across 23 markets, the result is very significant."

Alan Duffy said currency volatility was difficult to call but continuing weakness in the euro should be of benefit to Irish exporters. But he did sound a note of caution over sterling. "Until there's stability around the Scottish referendum and around the broader European piece, we're going to see continued currency volatility," he said.

On the Scottish vote, Mr Duffy said a vote in favour of independence could send a signal to markets that this could be the start of a trend. "Markets hate volatility and seek stability. Anything that ruffles that causes significant issues," he said.

Alan Duffy said Irish exporters had to continue to diversify into emerging and developing markets. "Whilst growth levels have come off a bit in China, its economy is still powering ahead with annual growth rates of 7 or 8%. India is a huge market. We see exports and imports rising five fold over next 15 years. It's a very exciting market for Irish companies," he concluded.

***
MORNING BRIEFS - The OECD will set out the first phase in its plan to overhaul the global corporate tax regime later today. The organisation has been working for a number of months, at the behest of the G20 group of nations, on changes to controversial regimes that allow multinationals to avoid large tax bills. It is expected some elements of the Irish regime will come into their sights, including the 'double Irish' which allows big firms to avoid large tax bills by switching taxes on their operations here to offshore tax havens. The Government officially supports moves to remove tax loopholes but the question is whether they will take pre-emptive steps in October's budget to recast the corporate tax regime or wait for the conclusion of the OECD process.

*** Meanwhile, the OECD yesterday downgraded its outlook for global growth owing to geopolitical tensions and also the uncertainty around the referendum on Scottish independence. It has revised downwards the outlook for all large economies this year except India. It expects growth of 2.1% in the US, 0.9% for Japan, but just 0.8% in the euro zone - that in the aftermath of dire economic indicators and the decision by the ECB to cut rates to near zero. 

*** Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has raised the share price range ahead of its initial public offering next friday from $60-$66 previously to $66-$68 a share. The company is in the midst of its Asia roadshow, ahead of what could be the biggest IPO in history. If priced at the top of the range the company could raise just under $22 billion in its stock market flotation.