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Irish Economy: Investec Ireland in its latest 'Irish Economy Monitor' has
left its growth forecasts unchanged, with GDP (gross domestic product) still
expected to grow by 1.2% this year (GNP - - gross national product - - +1.0%)
and by a further 2.0% in 2014 (GNP +1.6%).
Philip O’Sullivan, chief economist, says: "The Irish
economic recovery has been and will continue to be two-tiered. Economic growth
will be chiefly driven by the export sector, before multiplier effects fully
feed through to the domestic economy. This is helped by the composition of
Ireland’s exports: high-value added tech, pharma and agri products."
PMI (purchasing managers' index) indicators were mixed in April. The
Manufacturing PMI registered its second successive decline, while the
Services PMI has recorded growth in each of the past nine months;
This divergence is consistent with other indicators,
which may suggest that the services will retain the growth baton over the
Ireland is alone among the so-called PIIGS countries in having a Balance
of Payments surplus. This outcome has been driven by a resilient export
performance (particularly on the services side) and a decline in imports
from peak levels;
Ireland has seen a significant improvement in its cost competitiveness
since the onset of the recession both in absolute and relative terms.
Our alternative view which is divergent from what could be termed the
The surge in services exports is mainly fake, reflecting tax-related revenue
transfers from other countries that have been getting a lot of international
attention in recent weeks;
Richard Bruton, jobs minister, in
recent months has been highlighting that the Irish private sector added 12,000
jobs last year. However,
the CSO's Q4 2012 Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) data [pdf]
also shows that private sector jobs classified as 'Self employed/Assisting
relative' grew by almost as much, which given the state of the economy, hardly
indicates success. Part-time jobs in the whole workforce grew by 13,000.
The ESRI estimates that net emigration will be at 32,000 people this year
and a further 22,000 net will leave in 2014. 316,000 people or 14.7% of the
labour force were jobless in 2012;
The ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) has also
recognises an anomaly in the QNHS in the
report of a rise in agricultural employment: "Excluding
agriculture entirely, the annual fall in total employment for the fourth
quarter of 2012 was 10,600 on a seasonally adjusted basis...The continued
underlying fall in non-agricultural employment is a less encouraging finding
than the main results suggest."
Claims on competitiveness should be treated with
caution because of distortions caused by the multinational sector: Mario
Draghi, ECB president,
said in Amsterdam last month in respect of unit labour costs. "Ireland has seen an
18 percentage point improvement relative to the euro area average" - - this
is not reality.