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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Jan 4, 2014 - 10:14 AM

Irish Economy: 2013 Exchequer deficit at €11.5bn; Debt interest jumps 25% to €8.1bn
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jan 4, 2014 - 10:08 AM

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Irish Economy: The Exchequer deficit was €11.5bn in 2013, €3.4bn lower than 2012. Total tax revenue and the net voted expenditure outturns were broadly in line with targets. The decline was boosted by €2.3bn, with the sale of Bank of Ireland's CoCo bonds raising €1bn and the Irish Life sale resulted in an inflow of €1.3bn. However, this was offset by the loss of income of a similar amount following the expiration of the State bank guarantee. The interest on the national debt rose 25% to €8.1bn.

Tax receipts were €37.8bn, €144m (0.4%) off target but up €1.16bn on 2012; corporation tax was 3.3% ahead of target at €4.27bn, while stamp duties were 13.5% above at €1.34bn.

VAT receipts were €224m, or 2.1% below the 2013 target while provisional VAT receipts for December were €122m, or 57.7% off target, which the Department of Finance said was likely related to VAT rebates on import stock building; VAT receipts for the crucial Christmas trading period will be included in January Exchequer returns.

Income tax receipts were down €102m (0.6%) in 2013 and 2.6% in December.  However, within the income tax category, the Department said that PAYE and Schedule D tax was up €60m for the year, while DIRT was down €162m. Year-on-year income tax recorded an increase of €582m (3.8%).

Local Property Tax receipts of €30m were received in December bringing the total collected during 2013 to €318m.

Net expenditure was €321m, or 0.7%, below target, down 4.2% on 2012  and the cost of servicing the national debt for 2013 was €8.1bn. This is €1.6bn (24.9%) higher than 2012. The Department said this reflects the increase in stock of the National Debt generally, including the first interest payment on the floating rate bonds issued in February to replace the IBRC (Anglo Irish Bank/Irish Nationwide) Promissory Note, as well as some timing issues.

David McNamara, economist at Davy, commented - - "On the expenditure side, the slippage in the Department of Health of €138m (+1%) was not enough to push total current spending above target. Net current spending was €289m, or 0.7%, below target. Capital expenditure came in €32m, or 1%, below target.

While we will not get the official General Government Balance for 2013 until later in the year, today’s exchequer out-turn means that the government should comfortably beat its deficit target of 7.5% of GDP this year. We expect the final General Government Deficit to come in below 7% for the year, and this provides a solid base to hit its 2014 target of 5.1% of GDP; we expect it to come in at 4.8%."

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