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External Imbalances

Indicator 1: Current Account Balance

Current Account Balance (% GDP)Upper MIP Threshold Lower MIP Threshold
2007-5.133186945214216-4
2008-6.25591631513256-4
2009-6.333323411578576-4
2010-4.826974889489596-4
2011-3.311911219728866-4
2012-2.325156248864336-4
2013-0.9500889354820526-4
20140.3871934604466416-4
20154.900078117340726-4
20165.495701916489836-4

*Note there are some small differences between the CSO/Eurostat Current Account Balance values for 2008-2011 and 2016 related to data vintages.

Source publication: Balance of International Payments

Get the dataStatBank BPA15StatBank N1605 (Gross Domestic Product)

The current account balance is mainly driven by exports less imports, although it also includes net income and current transfers in and out of Ireland, as shown in the CSO note on Trends in Net Factor Income (PDF 222KB) . As part of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP), the current account balance is expressed as a three year average in terms of a percentage of GDP. A positive current account balance usually indicates that exports are greater than imports and vice versa. From 2007 to 2013, Ireland ran a current account deficit (measured as a three year average) and breached the lower MIP threshold from 2007 to 2010. The current account became less negative from 2010-2013. It became positive from 2014 onwards with a substantial shift seen in 2015 as a result of the relocation of companies to Ireland and their associated contract manufacturing exports

Supplementary analysis:

Current Account Balance (% GDP)Modified Current Account Balance (CA*) (% GDP)Upper MIP ThresholdLower MIP Threshold
2007-5.13318694521421-4.45420023131376-4
2008-6.2559163151325-5.611152559156866-4
2009-6.33332341157857-5.441235022046746-4
2010-4.82697488948959-4.467097423801326-4
2011-3.31191121972886-3.087555878291796-4
2012-2.32515624886433-2.867851109259346-4
2013-0.950088935482052-2.071407038925326-4
20140.387193460446641-1.218412028136376-4
20154.900078117340720.8211124848204756-4
20165.495701916489832.678578422414426-4
Show Table: Table 2.1 Modified Current Account Balance CA*, 2007-2016 (% of GDP, 3 year average)

A new measure of Irish domestic economic activity was requested by the CSO’s Economic Statistics Review Group (ESRG) due to the recent difficulty of interpreting Gross domestic product (GDP). This was mainly due to the impact on GDP of mobile international assets and global firms redomiciling their headquarters to Ireland. The development of a modified current balance, CA*, has been CSO’s response concerning the balance of payments (BOP) data. CA* is the current account balance (CA) where the following items have been removed:

1.The depreciation of capital assets held outside Ireland owned by Irish resident foreign-owned firms (e.g. Intellectual Property (IP) and leased aircraft).
2.The repatriated global income of companies that moved their headquarters to Ireland (e.g. redomiciled firms or corporate inversions).
3.The cost of investment in aircraft related to Leasing.
4.The cost of R&D related IP.

CA* excludes the depreciation of foreign-owned domestic capital (such as IP and aircraft Leasing) because it is borne by foreign investors and consequently does not affect CA*. The retained earnings of redomiciled firms are predominantly owned by foreign investors and are not taken into account by CA* either. Finally some firms borrow money abroad to finance their investment by purchasing IP from their parent company. In the long-term, this debt is repaid from the profit on the IP or the aircraft being leased. This borrowing is not a liability of residents of Ireland and the purchase of this IP is excluded when deriving CA*. As part of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP), both CA and CA* are expressed as a three year average in terms of a percentage of GDP. From the above figure we can observe that from 2012 to 2014, CA* was lower than CA. This difference is mainly due to the increase of redomiciled incomes. Moreover, in 2014, this value was negative (e.g.-1.2%) for CA* whereas it was positive (e.g. 0.4%) for CA. In both 2015 and 2016, the difference between CA* and CA was mainly due to the increase in depreciation of IP. More information on the modified Current Account Balance can be found here.

Indicator 2: International Investment Position

Net IIP (% of GDP)MIP Threshold
2007-31.4-35
2008-95.7-35
2009-116.5-35
2010-114.6-35
2011-139.2-35
2012-137.4-35
2013-131.6-35
2014-161-35
2015-195.1-35
2016-176.2-35
Show Table: Table 2.2 Net International Investment Position, 2007-2016 (% of GDP)

Source publication: International Investment Position and External Debt

Get the data: StatBank BPQ26

The IIP is a statistical statement that shows, at a point in time, the value of:
- financial assets of residents of an economy that are claims on non-residents and gold bullion held as reserve assets and
- the liabilities of residents of an economy to non-residents

Net IIP as a percentage of GDP, for Ireland, has breached the MIP threshold since 2008.

Supplementary analysis:

General GovernmentCentral BankMonetary Financial InstitutionsNon-Financial CorporationsOther SectorsMIP Threshold
2012-61.4429820895324-44.2967013135618-0.553087400151274-66.575038936803935.4393037132053-35
2013-60.1315610514984-28.4807650060079-6.65550742810292-65.810133676980929.4766154027566-35
2014-67.8446904333415-9.26379911375908-1.30735152425915-98.371374290490815.7881891999416-35
2015-50.51840796722210.9670826119237914.40347497603244-162.05667077810212.0560417312555-35
2016-45.2317290685342.144285081049258.26307653202431-164.43311468867923.0862332230071-35
Show Table: Table 2.3 Breakdown of Net International Investment Position, 2013-2016 (% of GDP)

Get the data: StatBank BPQ22

The table above shows the contribution of various sectors to the Net IIP as a percentage of GDP. Non-financial corporations contribute the most in every year and this has more than doubled between 2012 and 2016, mainly due to the non-resident funding of domestic intellectual property. Further information on this is contained in the CSO's National Balance Sheet publication. In 2016, the General Government contribution fell for the second year in a row. 

Competitiveness Indicators

Indicator 3: Real Effective Exchange Rate

Real Effective Exchange Rate (3 year % change)Upper MIP ThresholdLower MIP Threshold
200735-5
20087.35-5
20095.15-5
2010-5.45-5
2011-9.65-5
2012-12.25-5
2013-3.85-5
2014-3.65-5
2015-6.35-5
2016-6.65-5

Get the data: Eurostat database

The Real Effective Exchange Rate (REER) is a country’s exchange rate relative to a basket of exchange rates of other countries weighted according to their respective trade shares. A change in it, therefore, aims to assess a country's price or cost competitiveness relative to its principal competitors in international markets. A positive value indicates real appreciation and a loss of country competitiveness relative to principal trading partners. A negative value indicates improving country competitiveness relative to its principal trading partners. Changes in cost and price competitiveness depend on cost and price trends as well as exchange rate movements. This specific REER for the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure is deflated by the consumer price indices relative to a panel of 42 countries.

The REER estimates from 2007 to 2009 follow a positive trend which changes from 2010 onwards following the financial crisis (Figure 2.5). From 2010 to 2012 the lower MIP threshold of -5% was breached followed by a recovery period during 2013 and 2014. The indicator has breached the lower threshold in 2015 and 2016.

Supplementary analysis:

IrelandEU-28GermanyNetherlandsUnited KingdomUSA
200733.7-1.5-2.1-0.4-9
20087.36.20.9-0.1-11.2-8.8
20095.15.42.92.6-19.9-3.8
2010-5.40-3.7-1.5-20.4-2.3
2011-9.6-2.6-4.9-2.4-8.3-7.3
2012-12.2-4.3-9-65.8-10.5
2013-3.8-0.8-1.90.43.4-5.5
2014-3.6-0.7-0.40.7108.1
2015-6.3-1.1-1.5-0.611.124
2016-6.6-1.7-2-20.923.4

Get the data: Eurostat databaseWorld Bank database

The pattern of Ireland’s REER has been similar to other Euro Area countries and to the EU-28 average. However, it has been different to those of the United Kingdom and the USA which have other currencies in circulation. It is important to note that data on the USA is calculated in a different way to Eurostat and therefore is not fully comparable. The indicator for the USA is computed using data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators as a three year percentage change.

REER (3 year % change)Upper MIP ThresholdLower MIP Threshold
Sweden-8.85-5
Cyprus-6.65-5
Ireland-6.65-5
Hungary-4.85-5
Poland-4.75-5
Bulgaria-4.55-5
EU 28-4.065-5
Spain-45-5
Greece-3.65-5
Czech Republic-3.55-5
Italy-3.15-5
France-35-5
Romania-2.45-5
Germany-25-5
Netherlands-25-5
Portugal-1.75-5
Luxembourg-1.45-5
Denmark-1.35-5
Slovakia-1.15-5
Slovenia-0.35-5
Belgium05-5
Croatia05-5
Malta05-5
Finland0.75-5
United Kingdom0.95-5
Austria1.45-5
Estonia5.15-5
Lithuania5.25-5
Latvia5.35-5

Get the data: Eurostat database

Figure 2.7 shows the EU-28 REER values for 2016. Ireland has the third lowest percentage change in REER value with Sweden and Latvia experiencing the lowest and highest changes, respectively.

Indicator 4: Export Market Share

Export market Share (5 year % change)MIP Threshold
2007-11.97-6
2008-16.72-6
20091.85-6
2010-6.17-6
2011-10.13-6
2012-15.89-6
2013-7.82-6
2014-12.09-6
201540.95-6
201659.75-6

Source publication: Balance of International Payments

Get the data: Eurostat database

The export market share is calculated by dividing the exports of the country by the total exports of the world. For a country to increase its export market share its exports must increase at a faster rate than world exports. As a result a country’s exports may increase but its export market share may still fall. To capture the structural losses in competitiveness that can accumulate over longer time periods, this indicator is calculated as the percentage change in values compared to five years previously.

Ireland experienced negative values for this indicator each year from 2007 to 2014, with the exception of 2009, suggesting a decrease in export market shares. In most cases the MIP threshold of -6% was breached. This trend changed in 2015, when the indicator value rose to 40%, and 60% in 2016. This change largely relates to the amount of contract manufacturing carried out on behalf of Irish companies in 2015. This rise in contract manufacturing has led to the increase in goods exports from Irish companies and is explained in the note on trade statistics published by the CSO.

Supplementary analysis:

Export market Share (5 year % change)MIP Threshold
Greece-18.95-6
Finland-14.09-6
Sweden-7.92-6
Denmark-4.23-6
Austria-3.99-6
Cyprus-3-6
Italy-2.83-6
France-2.42-6
Belgium-2.31-6
Estonia-0.73-6
Hungary-0.37-6
United Kingdom-0.12-6
Netherlands0.09-6
Spain2.18-6
Germany2.79-6
Czech Republic2.86-6
Slovenia3.98-6
Lithuania5.38-6
Portugal5.75-6
Slovakia7.29-6
Croatia8.12-6
Bulgaria8.15-6
Malta8.66-6
Latvia9.25-6
Poland18.13-6
Romania23.58-6
Luxembourg26.17-6
Ireland59.75-6

Get the data: Eurostat database

Ireland’s increase in share of exports was the highest in the EU in 2016, surpassing Luxembourg by over 30%.

IrelandGermanyNetherlandsUnited KingdomChinaMIP Threshold
2007-11.972.1-2.48-14.96133.548393955314-6
2008-16.72-4.52-6.08-22.6257.8948588145165-6
20091.85-6.69-5.39-19.9548.523045850387-6
2010-6.17-7.67-8.05-23.6142.5568542412452-6
2011-10.13-8.96-8.19-25.734.6960162308271-6
2012-15.89-16.24-12.42-20.9231.9416576081333-6
2013-7.82-12.05-10.98-11.9833.5014957856205-6
2014-12.09-8.58-10.96-8.9331.0755227445245-6
201540.95-2.5-6.432.1930.8595154891509-6
201659.752.790.09-0.1218.2850090568605-6

Get the data: Eurostat databaseWorld Bank database

Ireland and three of its largest EU trading partners have mainly experienced declining export market shares over time. On the other hand, China has seen substantial increases each year, however these increases are at a declining rate. Ireland, in contrast, has reversed its trend of a decreasing market share seen up to 2014, and exhibited very large increases in the years 2015 and 2016. Note that the country comparison data is sourced from Eurostat, with the exception of the data for China which is from the World Development Indicators compiled by the World Bank.

Indicator 5: Nominal Unit Labour Costs

Nominal Unit Labour Cost (3 year % change)MIP Threshold
200713.19
200816.89
20097.89
2010-6.79
2011-15.49
2012-11.89
2013-1.99
2014-3.79
2015-19.59
2016-20.59

Source publication: National Income & Expenditure Annual Results

Get the data: StatBank N1602 (employee compensation/total labour costs), StatBank ESQ05 (number of employees), StatBank N1604 (Gross Domestic Product)

The nominal unit labour cost is an index computed using the ratio of labour costs (compensation per employee) to labour productivity (GDP per person employed, including self-employed).

A rise in an economy’s nominal unit labour costs corresponds to an increase in labour costs relative to labour productivity, resulting in lower competitiveness.

During the period 2007-2009, Ireland experienced positive indicator values, which breached the MIP threshold of 9% in 2007 and 2008 (Figure 2.11). This trend was reversed after the financial crisis, leading to increased competitiveness in the Irish economy. The three year change in Ireland’s nominal unit labour cost indicator was -20.7% in 2016. Note that this estimate was substantially affected by the level-shift in GDP in 2015.

Supplementary analysis:

Nominal Unit Labour Cost (3 year % change)Labour Productivity (3 year % change)Labour Costs (3 year % change)MIP Threshold
200713.12.7298405762093416.2322038600699
200816.8-1.7136133645675814.77810105077969
20097.80.8469534744316188.679146430746159
2010-6.76.15102232043059-0.9158593915856589
2011-15.413.7035128336266-3.754004281775149
2012-11.810.55789669297-2.290963430712749
2013-1.93.310060762232891.657697926338059
2014-3.76.286676021740882.575167724389559
2015-19.529.35531597724654.150356648846459
2016-20.533.41645254910535.826928268732869

Get the data: Eurostat database (compensation of employees), StatBank N1602 (employee compensation/total labour costs), StatBank ESQ05 (number of employees), StatBank N1604 (Gross Domestic Product)

Breaking nominal unit labour costs into its two components shows the interrelationship between labour costs and productivity. Until 2009, labour costs rose at a faster rate than labour productivity compared to their respective levels three years previously (Figure 2.12). This caused overall increases in nominal unit labour costs. Since 2010 the three year changes in labour costs were continually lower than those in labour productivity. In 2015 and 2016 labour productivity increased at a significantly faster rate than labour costs thereby increasing overall economic competitiveness. Labour productivity increases since 2015 were mainly due to the large increase in GDP.

Internal Indicators

Indicator 6: Deflated House Price Index

House Price Index (annual % change)MIP Threshold
20074.905509125481146
2008-8.112147684083856
2009-13.24014371419446
2010-11.18111275683416
2011-17.85786804460956
2012-14.73272458465676
2013-0.5885989644676916
201415.23013658505326
201511.07794240520336
20166.473510421350646

Source publication: Residential Property Price Index 

Get the data: StatBank HPM01 (Residential Property Price Index), StatBank N1605 (Consumption at Current Market Prices by Item and Year), StatBank N1606 (Consumption at Constant Market Prices by Item and Year)

From 2008 to 2013, Ireland experienced a decline in House Price Index (Figure 2.13) following the financial crisis. Since 2014, Ireland has seen increases in the House Price Index, meaning this indicator has breached the MIP threshold of 6%. These increases suggest inflation of the Irish housing market relative to the final consumption of households. A decrease in the rate of change in 2015 and 2016 follows the introduction of new lending regulations by the Central Bank.

The Deflated House Price Index is the ratio between the Residential Property Price Index and the National Accounts deflator for private final consumption expenditure for households. This year-on-year indicator measures inflation in the housing market relative to inflation in the final consumption expenditure of households.

The National Accounts deflator for private final consumption expenditure is obtained by dividing final consumption expenditure of households at current market prices (79a) by final consumption expenditure of households at constant market prices (92a). The deflated House Price Index is then calculated by dividing the House Price Index by this deflator.

Supplementary analysis:

Change in Deflated Price Index (2015=100)Excluding DublinDublinMIP Threshold
20074.905509125481145.902917657670752.991496792134426
2008-8.11214768408385-6.90187973160067-10.26103789628566
2009-13.2401437141944-10.5103934372164-18.94940759148746
2010-11.1811127568341-9.55091367750643-14.76241599591826
2011-17.8578680446095-18.6169675810522-16.84197731323696
2012-14.7327245846567-16.5176374839525-13.0059838442126
2013-0.588598964467691-8.534587232722017.882960360011916
201415.23013658505326.5704785892748222.69566913805266
201511.077942405203312.69432041026479.563737105043036
20166.473510421350649.029479634590434.221377987895596

Get the data: StatBank HPM01 (Residential Property Price Index), StatBank N1605 (Consumption at Current Market Prices by Item and Year), StatBank N1606 (Consumption at Constant Market Prices by Item and Year)

Figure 2.14 shows a comparison of the year-on-year deflated house price index between Dublin and the rest of the country. From 2007 to 2010, Dublin experienced an increased rate of deflation compared to the average of the remaining counties. Similarly, from 2011 to 2014 the rate of inflation was faster for Dublin than the rest of the country. In 2015 and 2016, house prices outside Dublin grew at a faster rate than those in Dublin.

Indicator 7: Private Sector Credit Flow, consolidated

Private Sector Credit Flow (% of GDP)MIP Threshold
200724.856643917423814
200821.977692381848314
2009-4.5462208813034414
20102.2252558949607414
201116.347411280139814
2012-0.58448832337151714
2013-1.4096892690817414
20142.5484000915636214
2015-3.1061005959502514
2016-18.954392424961114

Source publication: Annual Institutional Sector Accounts Non-Financial and Financial 2016

Get the data: StatBank IFI04

Private sector credit flow represents the net amount of liabilities (loans and debt securities) which Non-financial Corporations (NFCs, S.11), Households (S.14) and Non-Profit Institutions serving Households (NPISH, S.15) have incurred during the year. Transactions between units within each sector are eliminated to produce a consolidated presentation. The indicator is expressed as a percentage of GDP.

Figure 2.15 shows the relatively large positive flows of credit in the period 2007-2008, predominantly related to investment in residential and commercial property. Aside from 2011, the indicator has been below the MIP threshold since 2009. The threshold breach in 2011 was caused principally by refinancing operations for large multinational groups during this period. In 2016, private sector credit flows decreased by €44.1bn over the 2015 level, standing at -19% of GDP – well below the MIP threshold of 14%.

 Supplementary analysis:

Non-Financial CorporationsHouseholdsTotal
200724.120058586460724.897675467999549.0177340544602
200833.72142728664397.5430453946032141.2644726812471
2009-5.71931608503375-2.01366476523815-7.7329808502719
201013.5475085213224-9.81835238612053.72915613520191
201136.9587721037702-8.8512459229457828.1075261808244
20126.44057482644405-7.46670598790209-1.02613116145805
20132.100474776747-4.64211187712746-2.54163710038047
201410.5530736457343-5.5954996324154.95757401331934
2015-1.61993020239336-6.51920352433747-8.13913372673082
2016-49.5109576094486-2.72104202760058-52.2319996370492
Show Table: Table 2.4 Table 2.4 Breakdown of Private Sector Credit Flow, consolidated, 2007-2016 (€ billion)

A breakdown of private sector credit flow generally shows flows in Non-Financial Corporation liabilities to be much greater than flows in Household liabilities from 2008 onwards (Figure 2.16, Table 2.4). The scale of credit flow in both sectors has mainly declined since 2008. However, there was a sharp increase in flows of corporate liabilities in 2011, reflecting broad activity in the multinational sector. In 2016 the large negative credit flow value of -€52.2bn was mainly related to net repayment of non-financial corporate debt related to the funding of intellectual property.

A positive credit flow equates to a net incurrence of debt during the year whereas a negative sign indicates a net running-down of debt during the same accounting period. The negative credit flows occurring in the Household sector since 2009, cumulatively amounting to €47.6bn, correspond to a net repayment, primarily of mortgage related debt.

Indicator 8: Private Sector Debt, consolidated

Private Sector Debt (% of GDP)MIP Threshold
2007198.054633441836133
2008236.428758475112133
2009256.09370646728133
2010257.240763382062133
2011272.682172515205133
2012279.072486455447133
2013267.150002298773133
2014279.401594495131133
2015306.489672642759133
2016278.08445323252133

Source publication: Annual Institutional Sector Accounts Non-Financial and Financial 2016

Get the data: StatBank IFI05

Private sector debt is the stock of liabilities in the form of loans and debt securities held by Non-financial Corporations (NFCs, S.11), Households (S.14) and Non-Profit institutions serving Households (NPISH, S.15). Positions between units within each sector are eliminated to produce a consolidated presentation. This reflects the amount of funds that the sector receives from other sectors. The indicator is expressed as a percentage of GDP (Figure 2.17). For Ireland, this indicator has exceeded the threshold of 133% every year since 2001 (the first year of availability for this time series) and stood at 278% of GDP at the end of 2016.

Supplementary analysis:

NFCs (Foreign Parent)NFCs (Irish Parent)HouseholdsTotal Private Sector DebtMIP Threshold
200735.486307167512363.574987455206298.4900630027421197.551357625461133
200852.902304368443275.963538764006108.409078945265236.274922077715133
200967.902936878329371.6871729599774116.951673502098256.041783340404133
201086.792441540413160.3025298580695110.625643234963257.220614633446133
2011103.78745594268265.0761541572774102.258219217658273.121829317617133
2012110.77051851413469.379334171432798.9223744002776279.072227085845133
201395.926629076133577.725654825097293.4977038281644267.149987729395133
2014111.05591112385786.541771555519181.8036297818325279.401312461209133
2015166.55839519922582.775647348822857.1555869543936306.489629502441133
2016140.02243244494486.101304201679551.9607573123798278.084493959004133
Show Table: Table 2.5 Breakdown of Private Sector Debt, consolidated, 2007-2016 (% of GDP)

The analysis shown in Figure 2.18 and Table 2.5 considers the residency of an NFC’s ultimate controlling parent as the basis for distinguishing between Irish-controlled and foreign-controlled enterprises. The expansion of private sector debt from 2007 to 2009 is driven primarily by growth in property related investment by the Irish private sector. During the period following the financial crisis (circa. 2009-2012), the contribution to overall private sector debt by Irish entities (NFCs and Households) has been decreasing, while the contribution from foreign-owned NFCs has been steadily increasing. From 2013 to 2016, household debt (as a percentage of GDP) has continued to fall. Total private sector debt increased in 2014 and 2015 with notable increases in foreign-parent NFC debt, with a reversal in trend in 2016.

Redomiciled PLCsForeign Parent (ROW Debt)Irish Parent (ROW Debt)Foreign Parent (Irish Debt)Irish Parent (Irish Debt)HouseholdsMIP Threshold
20128.5915442279844468.832931943980111.434290516637141.937586570154349.353499426811298.9223744002776133
201312.92910033104666.281200875138514.786806240674629.64542820099550.009748253376693.4977038281644133
201425.495460449612377.757521528028217.868317787825133.298389595828743.177993318081681.8036297818325133
201528.2575395037471147.08907550966715.994278597842219.469319689557438.523829247233557.1555869543936133
201631.2898089898052123.60971081555923.138032919984816.412721629385431.673462291889451.9607573123798133
Show Table: Table 2.6 Breakdown of Private Sector Debt by Location of Counterparty, 2012-2016 (% of GDP)

In the period since 2009 several large multinational corporations have relocated their head offices to Ireland (i.e. redomiciled PLCs/corporate inversions), becoming an Irish-parent NFC in this analysis. Figure 2.19 shows a breakdown of private sector debt by location of counterparty – i.e. whether the debt is held with an entity resident in Ireland or outside of Ireland, referred to as the Rest of the World (ROW). This analysis exploits newly available classifications from the BPM6 methodology.

The debt of redomiciled PLCs is shown separately from the other non-financial corporations. It is clear that entities with an Irish parent predominantly borrow from Irish counterparties whilst entities with foreign parents are mostly indebted to non-resident counterparties. In 2015, there was a large increase in foreign-parent NFC non-resident (ROW) debt. This was related to corporate restructuring, both for imports of individual assets and also reclassifications of entire balance sheets in 2015. As a percentage of GDP, 2016 saw a reduction in private sector debt across most counterparty groups, except for Irish-parent NFC non-resident (ROW) debt and redomiciled PLCs.

Indicator 9: General Government Debt

General Government Debt (% of GDP)MIP Threshold
200723.90847963002460
200842.406101536036160
200961.54370741400560
201086.063025485878660
2011110.34500808430960
2012119.62565717898660
2013119.41053472287760
2014104.51736935714460
201576.931208450682760
201672.792196481449260

Source publication: Government Financial Statistics, Annual

Get the data: StatBank GFQ13, StatBank N1605 

General government gross debt (GG Debt) comprises of liabilities in the financial instruments Currency and Deposits (AF.2), Debt Securities (AF.3) and Loans (AF.4). The scoreboard indicator is obtained by expressing GG Debt as a percentage of GDP.

GG Debt as a percentage of GDP grew steadily from 2007 to its peak in 2012 of 119.6%, and breached the MIP threshold for the first time in 2009. GG Debt as a percentage of GDP has been decreasing since, with significant reductions seen in 2014 and 2015, due to the repayment of IMF loans in 2014 and a substantial increase in GDP in 2015. It has levelled out in 2016 with a small drop in debt as a percentage of GDP, from 76.9% to 72.8%. The level of GG Debt since 2007 has been strongly influenced by the financial crisis, the most significant factor being the state interventions in the banking sector from 2009 onwards. For more see file 'Impact of Government support for financial Institutions, October 2017' (Excel 25KB) (Source: CSO).

Supplementary analysis:

DepositsDebt SecuritiesLoansMIP Threshold
20073.8923058548949818.95837700703421.0576827298792360
20084.7100825833688436.20835358334391.4874485613802160
20096.0595456063315853.81348044571331.6708528327678660
20108.1800586582171257.512336889991420.370684000060460
201133.957866131279154.688634993530721.698587630343160
201235.367965418367449.741313446203934.516144155536960
201317.391111135314162.487850336179639.53172040508360
201410.752587411601661.21067987491932.554077783686860
20157.9046564447255747.994086801826521.032291401974560
20167.73493889340345.0515071990320.005639947704460

Get the data: StatBank GFQ13, StatBank N1605

This figure shows a breakdown of General Government debt into its constituent debt instruments. The largest amount of growth in debt securities occurred in 2009 to fund government spending. The significant increase in loan liabilities during the years 2010-2013 is predominantly as a result of the EU-IMF Programme of Financial Support. Deposits saw the largest amount of growth in 2011. This is due mainly to a combination of the reclassification of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) into the Government sector from mid-2011 and the growing participation of the Household sector in state savings schemes since 2008. The decline in the size of the currency and deposits sector once again in the period from 2013 to 2015 is related to the liquidation of IBRC. In 2016, all debt instruments experienced a decrease as a percentage of GDP which was consistent with the reduction in General Government Debt as a percentage of GDP. 

2016MIP Threshold
Estonia9.460
Luxembourg20.860
Bulgaria2960
Czech Republic36.860
Romania37.660
Denmark37.760
Lithuania40.160
Latvia40.660
Sweden42.260
Slovakia51.860
Poland54.160
Malta57.660
Netherlands61.860
Finland63.160
Germany68.160
Ireland72.860
Hungary73.960
Slovenia78.560
Croatia82.960
Austria83.660
United Kingdom88.360
France96.560
Spain9960
Belgium105.760
Ireland (% GNI*)106.0417206324760
Cyprus107.160
Portugal130.160
Italy13260
Greece180.860

Source Publication: National Income and Expenditure Annual Results 2016

Get the data: Eurostat database, StatBank N1624, StatBank GFQ13

Ireland’s gross General Government debt as a percentage of GDP (72.8%) was the thirteenth highest in the EU in 2016. Ireland's GG Debt as a percentage of GNI* (modified GNI excluding globalisation effects) was 106%. If GNI* for Ireland is comparable to GDP for other countries which are less significantly affected by globalisation, then Ireland had the fifth highest level of government debt as a ratio of economic activity in the EU in 2016. For further information on GNI* and its calculation see the National Income and Expenditure Annual Results 2016.

Indicator 10: Unemployment Rate

Unemployment rate (3 year average)MIP Threshold
20074.5416666666666710
20085.210
20097.710
201010.77510
201113.533333333333310
201214.42510
201314.158333333333310
201413.041666666666710
201511.291666666666710
20169.510

Source publication: Quarterly National Household Survey 

Get the data: StatBank QNQ20

The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labour force who are unemployed. The indicator is derived as a three year average based on the reference year plus the previous two years.

This indicator has exceeded the indicative threshold since 2010 (Figure 2.23). The average rate of unemployment has exhibited a downward trend since 2013 and is below the threshold in 2016 for the first time since 2009.

Supplementary analysis:

Unemployed under 24 years (% of labour force)Unemployed over 24 years (% of labour force)MIP Threshold
20071.451727396118823.0404583409332510
20081.66530094279723.495983257658910
20092.307169445300125.3709938012213310
20102.926175496862437.8036659730143910
20113.3090462493210610.155562459288510
20123.2459886723030111.100488835043510
20133.0032086811079411.069965455020210
20142.6551009316449210.293984813190810
20152.203246817591828.981932511874210
20161.854479727239287.6117628281870910

Get the data: StatBank QNQ24

From 2007 to 2011, the unemployment rate increased both for those aged 15-24 and those aged over 25 (Figure 2.24). In 2016 the unemployment rate has decreased for both age groups, as it has done since 2014.

Not stated/Not applicableAgriculture, Forestry and Fishing and other service activitiesIndustryWholesale & Retail trade; Repair of motor vehicles and motorcyclesConstructionMIP Threshold
20071.5194581.3838460.5574330.4700090.60494210
20081.6456751.5069920.6042120.549550.90140910
20092.1006912.1187920.8755990.8028721.81940710
20102.6446992.9622871.2164621.1599612.80416510
20113.268593.7996231.4968011.4977473.47476610
20123.5319044.2403721.5476041.6664113.44250110
20133.6662084.3607181.4641251.6441063.02447510
20143.5638634.2137711.317811.5073182.43763810
20153.4481643.7153531.0833481.2424141.79268610
20163.43.20.911.310
Show Table: Table 2.7 Unemployment by Sector as a Percentage of the Total Labour Force, 2007-2016 (3 year average)

Figure 2.25 shows the percentage of people unemployed who classified their previous sector of employment. The not stated/not applicable category in this figure includes persons who have never worked previously and those who have worked previously but not during the past eight years. Unemployment reduced significantly in 2016, most notably in the Construction sector and Agricultural sector.

Indicator 11: Change in Total Financial Sector Liabilities

Total Financial Sector Liabilities (year-on-year % change)MIP Threshold
20079.6384864976003216.5
20086.5120231821417716.5
20093.3600904053629616.5
20106.2939153279431816.5
2011-2.2467429269903516.5
2012-1.830086841982116.5
20130.2613431875915916.5
201419.51867435642316.5
20159.7180687577290416.5
20162.4888654699397416.5

Source publication: Institutional Sector Accounts Non-Financial and Financial 2016 

Get the data: StatBank IFI03

This indicator measures the year-on-year change in the sum of all liabilities of the Financial Sector. The indicator has fallen from 2007 to 2009, as a result of deleveraging in the banking sector. The indicator only breached the MIP threshold of 16.5% in the year 2014 (Figure 2.26). This sharp increase in Financial Sector Liabilities in 2014 was driven mainly by growth in the Investment Funds sector (S.124).

It should be noted that the positive year-on-year growth in total financial sector liabilities from 2007-2010 has also been heavily influenced by the expansion of the Investment Funds sector in Ireland. Despite a contraction in this indicator in the period 2011 to 2012, the Investment Funds sector has continued to expand during these years, as can be seen in Figure 2.27.

Supplementary analysis: 

Central bankBanks and Money Market FundsInvestment FundsOther Financial CorporationsTotal Financial Sector
200713.246039189.98924.888974731959949.2175956007068277.341609332667
200862.61158.831-125.05180052568209.049872068786205.440071543106
20098.187-117.362109.4768964112.604570186166112.906466586166
201079.122-127.316186.21299280.5767159091544218.595707909154
2011-28.15-266.049788753134173.07434538.1814387230189-82.9440050301156
2012-38.537-149.020185593866199.627479115882-78.1136230444617-66.0433295224453
2013-32.837-92.860825653162.462267025444-27.50574235412669.25869901831716
2014-23.167763211042275.7750680872714453.568690549474187.126270184261693.302265609964
2015-3.04001143301284-68.7275979925523165.44822688065318.880254140027412.560871595112
20164.7640630386530522.5746680294515118.53678741545-29.9477047972882115.927813686266
Show Table: Table 2.8 Breakdown of Change in Financial Sector Liabilities, 2007-2016 (€ billion)

Aside from a contraction in 2008 as a result of the financial crisis, the Investment Funds sector has shown continuous growth in balance sheet size since 2007. Figure 2.27 shows the effect of this growth on the Financial Sector in helping to offset the deleveraging which occurred in the banking sector from 2009 to 2013. For the first time since 2008 the banking sector showed year-on-year growth in its balance sheet during 2014, which returned to a contraction in 2015, but again experienced growth in 2016.

It should be noted that part of the large increase in liabilities of the Other Financial Corporations subsector shown in 2014 and 2015 is a result of a newly available data source for this period. Another driver of this change is the growth in balance sheet size of treasury companies. More detail is provided in the CSO’s note on Measuring Shadow Banking in the Irish National Accounts (PDF 2,503KB) .

Indicator 12: Activity Rate

Activity Rate (3 year % change) MIP Threshold
20073.1-0.2
20081.3-0.2
2009-1.3-0.2
2010-3.2-0.2
2011-2.9-0.2
2012-1.4-0.2
20130.4-0.2
20140.6-0.2
20150.8-0.2
20160.7-0.2

Source publication: Quarterly National Household Survey

Get the Data: StatBank QNQ23 (ILO participation rates), Eurostat database

The activity rate is the percentage of the population aged 15-64 years in the labour force as a proportion of the total population of the same age. The particular indicator is measured as a 3 year percentage change. This indicator breached its threshold of -0.2% in the years 2009-2013. Its value lay at the threshold of -0.2% in 2014, and the indicator returned within its threshold in 2015 and 2016.

IrelandGermanyGreeceNetherlandsSpainUnited KingdomMIP Threshold
20073.130.31.92.90.2-0.2
20081.32.10.32.42.70.4-0.2
2009-1.31.40.72.320-0.2
2010-3.21.11.3-0.31.7-0.1-0.2
2011-2.91.40.6-1.21.2-0.3-0.2
2012-1.40.90.1-0.71.20.4-0.2
20130.40.9-0.31.20.81-0.2
20140.60.40.10.90.31.2-0.2
20150.80.40.30.600.8-0.2
20160.70.30.70.3-0.10.9-0.2

Get the data: Eurostat database

Ireland’s activity rate grew as a three year percentage change from 2007 to 2008, as it did for many comparable European countries. However, from 2009 to 2012 onwards it declined sharply, where many other countries still saw increases in Activity Rate or much smaller decreases.

15-24 years25-34 years35-44 years45-54 years55-64 yearsTotal
200740.475103.17553.74438.25279.6
200816.07573.250000000000149.739.125000000000132.1250000000001210.275
2009-43.074999999999926.22538.1531.121.52573.9250000000002
2010-106.725-17.520.675000000000122.72516.8-64.0250000000001
2011-114.1-37.925000000000117.199999999999915.312.7-106.825
2012-87.275-46.425000000000123.37517.77513.675-78.875
2013-53.325-55.17532.22522.8523.225-30.1999999999998
2014-43.8-64.12533.72526.4526.55-21.1999999999998
2015-36.15-69.6529.52534.8538-3.42500000000018
2016-10.625-61.5528.825.97533.5516.1499999999996
Show Table: Table 2.9 Breakdown of Labour Force Participation, 2007-2016 (change in thousands over 3 years)

The increases in the activity rate from 2007 to 2008 related in large part to people aged 25 to 34 years of age joining the labour force. The decline in the activity rate from 2010 onwards was due to people aged 15 to 34 leaving the labour force.

IrelandGermanyGreeceNetherlandsUnited Kingdom
200772.675.666.578.575.5
200872.175.966.779.375.8
200970.676.367.479.775.7
201069.476.767.878.275.4
201169.277.367.378.175.5
201269.277.267.57976.1
201369.877.667.579.476.4
201469.877.767.47976.7
20157077.667.879.676.9
201670.577.968.279.777.3

Get the data: Eurostat database

Compared to three of the country’s largest European trading partners (Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom), Ireland has consistently had a relatively low activity rate.

Indicator 13: Change in the Long-term Unemployment Rate

Long-term Unemployment Rate (3 year % change)MIP Threshold
2007-0.1601364035651280.5
20080.2487238990624610.5
20092.056658286497440.5
20105.363073294146120.5
20116.904035930707010.5
20125.51351143596990.5
201310.5
2014-2.02269967376180.5
2015-3.695872446393870.5
2016-3.612439076711530.5

Source publication: Quarterly National Household Survey 

Get the data: StatBank QNQ39 (duration of unemployment), Eurostat database

The long-term unemployment rate expresses the number of people aged 15 to 74 unemployed for over one year as a percentage of the active population of the same age. The MIP threshold is a 0.5% increase compared to three years previously. After small changes in the long-term unemployment rate (measured as a three year percentage change) in 2007 and 2008, Ireland’s long-term unemployment rate increased from 2009 to 2013 at rates far above the 0.5% threshold. Long-term unemployment as a three year percentage change has continued to decline since 2014.

Supplementary analysis:

15-24 years25-44 years45 years and overTotal
20070.02499999999999860.850.02500000000000040.899999999999999
20082.653.92.28.75
200912.1524.07510.72546.95
201023.3563.22529.7116.275
201123.0586.62538.05147.725
201213.47565.3537.275116.1
2013-7.32512.12516.721.5
2014-13.975-31.551.2-44.325
2015-17.825-47.35-13.7-78.875
2016-11.475-45.9-19.525-76.9
Show Table: Table 2.10 Long-term Unemployment in thousands, 2007-2016 (change over 3 years)

Separating out the figures, it is clear that the bulk of those who became long-term unemployed from 2009 to 2012, measured as a three year change in absolute values, were aged between 25 and 44 years of age. The decline in the numbers unemployed from 2014 to 2016 was also mostly made up of people in this category.

Long-term Unemployment Rate, 2016
Sweden1.3
United Kingdom1.3
Denmark1.4
Czech Republic1.7
Germany1.7
Malta1.9
Austria1.9
Estonia2.1
Luxembourg2.2
Poland2.2
Finland2.3
Hungary2.4
Netherlands2.5
Lithuania3
Romania3
Belgium4
Latvia4
Ireland4.2
France4.3
Slovenia4.3
Bulgaria4.5
Cyprus5.8
Slovakia5.8
Portugal6.2
Croatia6.6
Italy6.7
Spain9.5
Greece17

Get the data: Eurostat database

IrelandGermanyGreeceNetherlandsSpainUnited Kingdom
20071.44.94.21.21.71.3
20081.73.93.70.921.4
20093.53.53.90.84.31.9
20106.83.35.71.27.32.5
20118.62.88.81.68.92.7
201292.414.51.9112.7
20137.82.318.52.5132.7
20146.62.219.52.912.92.2
20155.3218.2311.41.6
20164.21.7172.59.51.3

Since 2010, Ireland’s long-term unemployment rate has been higher than three of its major trading partners, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, but this gap has narrowed in recent years.

Indicator 14: Change in Youth Unemployment

Youth Unemployment Rate (3 year % change)MIP Threshold
20070.3111470652390252
20084.663001157827222
200915.36334517819582
201018.57438323948662
201115.74570964759272
20126.42
2013-0.82
2014-5.22
2015-9.487202144994642
2016-9.563192526128382

Source publication: Quarterly National Household Survey

Get the data: StatBank QNQ24 (ILO Participation, Employment and Unemployment Characteristics by Age Group)

The MIP threshold is a 2% change over three years. Ireland’s youth unemployment increased at a rate exceeding this threshold from 2008 to 2012, peaking with an 18% increase in 2010. Substantial reduction in youth unemployment can be seen from 2014 onwards.

Supplementary analysis:

Unemployed persons aged 15-19 yearsUnemployed persons aged 20-24 years
20070.9499999999999990.800000000000001
20084.2513.475
20098.335.775
20106.77535.8
20113.6518.975
2012-1.2-5.40000000000001
2013-2.45-14.025
2014-4.35-18.475
2015-6.65-22.325
2016-4.15-18

Get the data: StatBank QNQ24

Breaking down the change in youth unemployment by age, it can be seen that most of the change in youth unemployment is driven by those aged from 20 to 24.

Youth Unemployment Rate, 2016
Germany7.1
Czech Republic10.5
Netherlands10.8
Malta11
Austria11.2
Denmark12
Hungary12.9
United Kingdom13
Estonia13.4
Lithuania14.5
Slovenia15.2
Bulgaria17.2
Ireland17.2
Latvia17.3
Poland17.7
Sweden18.9
Luxembourg19.1
Belgium20.1
Finland20.1
Romania20.6
Slovakia22.2
France24.6
Portugal28.2
Cyprus29.1
Croatia31.5
Italy37.8
Spain44.4
Greece47.3

Get the data: Eurostat database

Ireland’s youth unemployment rate compared to its EU neighbours in 2016 is shown in Figure 2.38. Ireland has the 13th lowest youth unemployment rate in 2016.

IrelandGermanyGreeceNetherlandsSpainUnited Kingdom
20079.111.822.79.418.114.3
200813.310.421.98.624.515
20092411.125.710.237.719.1
201027.69.83311.141.519.9
201129.18.544.71046.221.3
201230.4855.311.752.921.2
201326.87.858.313.255.520.7
201423.97.752.412.753.217
201520.97.249.811.348.314.6
201617.27.147.310.844.413

Get the data: Eurostat database

Compared to the Netherlands and Germany, Ireland’s youth unemployment rate has been relatively high since 2009.

Next Chapter: Auxiliary Indicators >>