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Press Statement

Preasráiteas

14 July 2017

Press Statement Macroeconomic Releases Year 2016 and Quarter 1 2017

GDP results for 2016 show growth of 5.1%
  • At current prices, GDP in 2016 stood at €275.6 billion
  • Initial estimates for modified GNI (or GNI*) are €189.2 billion in 2016 for this new indicator of the level of economic activity
  • GDP fell by 2.6% in Quarter 1 2017, following strong Quarter 4 results
  • GNP decreased by 7.1% in the quarter
  • Comparing Quarter 1 2017 with Quarter 1 2016, GDP grew by 6.1% and GNP grew by 7.9%
  • Balance of Payments results recorded a current account surplus of €8.6 billion in the quarter

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (Friday 14 July 2017) published Quarterly National Accounts and Balance of Payments results for Quarter 1, 2017 and results for the Year 2016.   The results also include initial estimates for new indicators recommended by the Economic Statistics Review Group (ESRG), including the modified GNI (or GNI*) series. 

Assistant Director General with responsibility for Economic Statistics, Jennifer Banim, commented:

“Preliminary National Accounts results for Quarter 1 2017 show a decrease of 2.6% in GDP and a decrease of 7.1% in GNP when compared to strong Quarter 4 2016 results of 5.8% and 12.0% respectively.

Across the larger sectors of the economy, Industry decreased by 8.8% in volume terms, while Information and Communication grew by 2.9%.  Distribution, Transport, Hotels and Restaurants, a domestically focused sector, decreased by 0.5%.  Construction grew by 4.1% in the quarter.

Looking at expenditure in the economy, Personal consumption of goods and services, an important measure of domestic economic activity, rose by 1.2% in Quarter 1 2017.  Current expenditure by local and central government increased by 0.3%.  

In the annual National Income and Expenditure release, the headline aggregates for 2016 are similar to initial estimates published in March 2017.   GDP growth is now estimated to have been 5.1%, compared to the initial estimate of 5.2%.  GNP growth has been revised to 9.6% from 9.0% and Personal consumption of goods and services is now showing growth of 3.3%, previously estimated at 3.0%.       

In Balance of Payments results for Quarter 1 2017, the current account recorded a surplus of €8.6 billion. 

Commenting on the delivery of the first set of recommendations of the ESRG, Ms. Banim said:

“Today’s results include preliminary estimates for key recommendations made by the expert group, including a modified indicator of the overall size or level of the economy (GNI*) and a modified total domestic demand indicator that focuses on activity within the Irish economy.  These modified indicators are designed to exclude significant globalisation effects that disproportionately affect the Irish economic results.

In the annual results, the transition from a GDP level of €275.6 billion in 2016 to a modified GNI (or GNI*) level of €189.2 billion is shown.  GNI*is designed as a supplementary indicator of the level of the Irish economy for use in ratio analysis as an alternative to GDP.  For instance, in 2016, the government debt to GDP ratio stood at 73%, while the result for the equivalent debt to GNI* ratio was 106%.  

In today’s quarterly results, the modified Total Domestic Demand indicator decreased by 2.7% in Quarter 1 2017, while the traditional indicator decreased by 17.3%.  The modified series helps to give users an insight into underlying domestic demand, as can be seen with the Quarter 1 2017 results, where the effects of heavy activity in trade in aircraft by aircraft leasing companies and imports of intellectual property in Quarter 4 2016 have impacted the quarterly comparison for the traditional indicator. 

The CSO plan to continue delivery of the remaining recommendations over the second half of 2017 and into 2018 and progress on this work will be reviewed by the group.” 

Editor's Note:

Modified GNI (or GNI*) is defined as GNI less the effects of the profits of re-domiciled companies and the depreciation of intellectual property products and aircraft leasing companies.  This new indicator of the level of the Irish economy will be a useful additional input to debt ratio analysis.

Modified Total Domestic Demand is defined as Total Domestic Demand less the effects of the trade in aircraft by aircraft leasing companies and the imports of intellectual property.  This modified indicator gives insight into the activity within the domestic economy and is designed to be more closely related to employment growth as it is focuses on the physical capital used to produce domestic output.

Additional information on the Economic Statistics Review Group and globalisation issues are available at

New Developments and Information Notes

For further information contact:

Michael Connolly (+353) 1 498 8400 or Christopher Sibley (+353) 1 498 8430

or email nat_acc@cso.ie

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