December 2019 Ireland Snapshot

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The Irish economy continues to outperform the G7 average with the year-on-year rate of GDP growth revised up in Q1 19 from 6.3% to 7.2%. Furthermore, the first official GDP estimate for Q2 19 exceeded market expectations at 6.0% y/y. Nevertheless, relentless Brexit uncertainty continued to weigh on business sentiment and GDP forecasts for H2 19 have been reduced from around 2.7% to a 2.5% y/y rate (Oxford Economics). Likewise, the Irish composite purchasing manager index has shown a further decline to 50.6, still expansionary, but the lowest reading in 89 months. Fixed capital investment in Building & Construction (a surrogate for the supply side economy as a whole) fell from a 10.6% y/y rate in Q1 19 to 6.0% in Q2 19. Although business investment is volatile, the figure is in line with weaker business confidence and well below the five-year quarterly average of 11.0% y/y. Unemployment in Q2 19 rose by 16,400, the largest quarterly increase since Q2 10, with the unemployment rate up from 5% to 5.3% over the same period. The unemployment rate has been stable at 5.3% throughout Q3 19. Low interest rates, coupled with weak sterling, have pushed Irish annual inflation back up to 2013 levels. In May 2019, Irish CPI reached 1.7%, but has since fallen back and was 0.7% in October, in line with the Eurozone average.

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December 2019 Ireland Snapshot

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Declan Stone

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