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Key Findings

Ireland breached the EU threshold in four of the 14 macroeconomic indicators in 2021

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Key Findings

  • The Macroeconomic Scoreboard shows breaches of the EU thresholds for 4 of the 14 indicators in 2021, the same number as 2020.

  • The Current Account Balance, Net International Investment Position, and Private Sector Debt continued to breach the thresholds in 2021.

  • While the Activity Rate, which breached the threshold in 2020, no longer breached the threshold in 2021, total Financial Sector Liabilities breach the threshold for the first time since 2014.

Statistician's Comment

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (24 November 2022) published Ireland’s Macroeconomic Scoreboard 2021, an EU wide measure of economic imbalances in member states’ economies. The Scoreboard measures a range of indicators designed to screen for potential macroeconomic imbalances in the Irish economy.

Commenting on the publication, Statistician in International Accounts, Dina Celentano said: "The 2021 Macroeconomic Scoreboard shows that out of the 14 indicators screening for economic imbalances, Ireland breached 4 of the EU thresholds. This was down from a high of 10 breaches in 2011, however, there was no change in the number of breaches compared with 2020."

The breaches for 2021 include current account balance at -4.2%, measured as a three-year average percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which breached its threshold of -4% for the third consecutive year, the international investment position at -145.5% of GDP which again breached the EU threshold of -35%, and private sector debt at 168.1% of GDP, which continued to breach the EU threshold of 133%. The total financial sector liabilities at 18.8%, measured as year-on-year change in the sum of all liabilities of the financial sector, breached the EU threshold of 16.5% for the first time since 2014. However, the combined total of Irish-owned debt (households and Irish non-financial corporations) was below the EU threshold, with the combined total of Irish-owned debt making up more than half of the total private sector debt. The activity rate indicator no longer breached its threshold in 2021.

The Scoreboard publication includes indicators designed to measure economic competitiveness, for example the current account balance, export market share and labour costs, and includes indicators designed to screen for internal imbalances such as unemployment.  

The CSO’s Macroeconomic Scoreboard publication draws on sources from across the CSO and provides additional analysis on the range of indicators, including analysis using the CSO's Modified Gross National Income (GNI*) and Modified Current Account (CA*) measures.

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) is an annual process which the European Commission undertakes, using a scoreboard of 14 headline indicators and 13 auxiliary indicators. This screens for any macroeconomic imbalances that may occur in member states. Each of the 14 headline indicators have a threshold, set by the European Commission, beyond which economic imbalances are determined to have occurred. The financial crisis in 2008 highlighted the importance of the early detection and correction of macroeconomic imbalances across EU countries and the Euro area. This led the European Commission to develop the MIP which came into force in December 2011 as part of the 'six pack' of legislative acts, which strengthens the monitoring of macroeconomic policies in the EU and the Euro area.

The CSO produces Ireland’s Macroeconomic Scoreboard publication in line with the European Commission’s report, to provide further insight and analysis on the range of indicators for Ireland.