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Press Statement


14 March 2019

Quarterly National Accounts Quarter 4 2018 and Year 2018 (Preliminary) and International Accounts Quarter 4 2018

Preliminary results for Year 2018
  • GDP increased by 6.7% in 2018
  • GNP increased by 5.9% in the year
  • Personal Consumption Expenditure, a key indicator of underlying domestic activity, grew by 3.0% in 2018
  • Balance of Payments results recorded a current account surplus of €29.0 billion in the year
  • The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (Thursday, 14 March 2019) published Quarterly National Accounts and International Accounts results for Quarter 4, 2018 and preliminary results for the Year 2018. The new International Accounts publication, which incorporates the Balance of International Payments and International Investment Position releases, provides data users with an improved picture of our economic flows with the rest of the world and of Ireland’s stocks of foreign financial assets and liabilities.

    Commenting on the results, Jennifer Banim, Assistant Director General with responsibility for Economic Statistics said:

    Preliminary National Accounts results for 2018 show an increase of 6.7% in GDP and an increase of 5.9% in GNP compared with 2017.  

    In the larger sectors of the economy, Industry showed a small contraction of 0.2% in volume terms, while Information and Communication grew by 30.7% in 2018.  In the sectors driven by domestic activity, Construction showed growth of 15.4% in the year and Distribution, Transport, Hotels and Restaurants grew by 4.1%.  The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector decreased by 12.9% in the year.

    Looking at expenditure in the economy in 2018 we see that:

    • Exports of Goods and Services grew by 8.9%, driving the growth in GDP in the year, while Imports of Goods and Services showed an increase of 7.0%
    • Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) rose by 3.0%. The domestically focused PCE indicator measures spending by individuals on goods and services and accounted for over 30% of all economic activity in 2018
    • Investment increased by 9.8%, driven by increased imports of aircraft. The overall impact of investment in aircraft is neutral on GDP as their addition to the capital stock is offset by the imports recorded for the aircraft
    • As a result of the increases in spending and investment, Total Domestic Demand - an aggregate of personal and government expenditure and spending on capital investment - increased by 4.7% in the year
    • In comparison, the Modified Domestic Demand (MDD) indicator increased by 3.3%.  MDD is an indicator of domestic demand that excludes globalisation effects such as trade in intellectual property products and trade in aircraft by leasing companies, and is an important indicator of changes in underlying demand in 2018

    In the International Accounts results for 2018, the Current Account recorded a surplus of €29.0 billion in flows with the rest of the world, compared with a surplus of €24.9 billion in 2017.  The change in the overall surplus was the result of an increase of €10.2 billion in the Trade surplus and an offsetting increase of €6.1 billion in the Income deficit.  Driving the increase in the 2018 Trade surplus was an additional €16.4 billion in exports of computer services in the year.

    Today’s International Accounts publication includes a table of Current Account transactions with the UK.  The results show a surplus of €8.2 billion for Trade in goods and services with the UK in 2018.  The trade surplus was offset by a deficit of €13.7 billion for income flows with the UK, giving an overall Current Account deficit of €5.6 billion in the year.

    In Quarter 4, 2018, GDP increased by 0.1% when compared to Quarter 3, 2018, while GNP decreased by 2.4%.  Personal consumption of goods and services increased by 0.5% in the quarter.  In Balance of Payments results for Quarter 4, 2018, the Current account showed a surplus of €178 million, a significant decrease on recent surpluses, largely due to imports of intellectual property products in the quarter.”

    For further information contact:

    Michael Connolly (+353) 1 498 4006 or Christopher Sibley (+353) 1 498 4305

    or email

    or email

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