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Press Statement


20 July 2020

National Income and Expenditure 2019; Revised Quarterly National Accounts and International Accounts for Quarter 1 2020

GDP grew by 5.6% in 2019 and GNP grew by 3.4%
  • Personal Consumption of Goods and Services, a key measure of domestic economic activity, increased by 3.2% in the year, but decreased by 3.1% in Q1 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions
  • At current prices, the level of GDP in 2019 stood at €356.1 billion
  • Modified GNI, or GNI*, recorded a level of €213.7 billion in the year
  • Imports of intellectual property products (IPP) drove the Balance of Payments Current Account into a deficit of €40.4 billion in 2019
  • In contrast, the modified Current Account balance, or CA*, which excludes globalisation effects, recorded a surplus of €16.5 billion in 2019
  • For Quarter 1 2020, the estimate for GDP growth is 1.2%, unchanged from the provisional estimate published in June

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (20 July 2020) published revised Quarterly National Accounts and International Accounts results for Quarter 1, 2020 and National Income and Expenditure (NIE) results for the year 2019. Today’s results include revisions routinely incorporated at this time of the year due to the availability of more comprehensive and detailed data.

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

‘In the annual National Income and Expenditure results, GDP is estimated to have grown by 5.6% in 2019, driven by a 10.5% increase in Exports of Goods and Services. GNP - a measure of economic activity that excludes the profits of multi-nationals - grew by 3.4% in the year. Personal Consumption of Goods and Services, an important indicator of domestic economic activity, grew by 3.2% in 2019.

Capital formation increased by almost 75% in 2019, due to higher levels of investment in Intellectual Property Products (IPP), but because of offsetting higher amounts of IPP imports, this increase in intangible investment had an overall neutral impact on GDP in the year.

All sectors of the economy experienced growth in 2019. Looking across the MNE-dominated sectors, Information and Communication grew by 17.2% in the year, while Industry saw growth of 3.3%. In the sectors focused on the domestic market, Construction grew by 7.5% and the Distribution, Transport, Hotels and Restaurants sector increased by 3.6%.’

Commenting on the supplementary modified indicators, Ms. Banim said:

'Today’s results include estimates for GNI*, an indicator designed to exclude globalisation effects that disproportionately impact Irish economic results.  In the annual NIE results, the transition from a GDP level of €356.1 billion in 2019 to a GNI* level of €213.7 billion is shown (in NIE Annex 1). 

GNI* is designed to be a supplementary indicator of the level (or size) of the Irish economy and act as a supplement to GDP in ratio analysis. For instance, in 2019, the ratio of General Government Gross Debt to GDP stood at 57%, while the result for the equivalent debt to GNI* ratio was 95%. 

Modified Domestic Demand (MDD) – a modified measure of personal, government and investment spending - increased by 3.3% in 2019. MDD is an important indicator of underlying demand and excludes the globalisation effects of trade in IPP and trade in aircraft by leasing companies from the standard Final Domestic Demand measure.

In International Accounts results, the Current Account of the Balance of Payments recorded a deficit of €40.4 billion in flows with the rest of the world in 2019, driven by imports of IPP. In comparison, the modified Current Account balance, or CA*, which excludes the impact of re-domiciled companies, aircraft leasing companies and IPP, recorded a surplus of €16.5 billion in the year.’

On the revised Quarter 1 2020 results, Ms. Banim said:

‘Revised results for Quarter 1 2020 show no change to the previously published estimates for GDP and GNP growth, with GDP increasing by 1.2% and GNP increasing by 0.1% when compared with Quarter 4 2019. 

The impact of the COVID-19 restrictions varied across the sectors of the economy in Quarter 1, 2020. In the more globalised sectors, growth continued in some areas, with the Information & Communication sector growing by 8.5% in the quarter. However, the Professional and Administrative Services sector contracted by 4.5%. The sectors focused on the domestic market also experienced varied effects in the quarter, with the Distribution, Transport, Hotels and Restaurants sector contracting by 3.0% and Construction contracting by 1.6%.

Looking at expenditure in the economy, we see that personal spending (the PCE indicator) decreased by 3.1% in the quarter with COVID-19 restrictions significantly impacting consumption in March. Government spending on current goods and services increased by 0.5% in Quarter 1, 2020.’

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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