Tuesday April 18 2017
Irish Trade Surplus Falls From Record High As Imports Rise
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish seasonally adjusted trade surplus decreased by 9 percent to €4,736 million in February 2017 from a downwardly revised record high of €5,187 million in the previous month, as imports jumped by 16 percent while exports rose at a slower 3 percent, preliminary figures showed. Meanwhile, the non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened 39.1 percent year-on-year to €4,265 million.

Seasonally adjusted goods imports increased by €800 million, or 16 percent, to €5,883 million from the previous month; and exports increased by €349 million, or 3 percent, to €10,619 million, preliminary figures showed.

The non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus widened 39.1 percent year-on-year to €4,265 million, as exports increased by €1,303 million, or 15 percent, to €9,738 million, due to higher sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (37 percent), and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (28 percent).

Exports to the UK increased by €189 million, or 19 percent, to €1,162 million. The main products accounting for this increase were exports of chemicals and related products which increased by €158 million, or 58 percent, to €433 million. The EU accounted for €4,853 million, or 50 percent, of total goods exports, of which €1,115 million went to Belgium. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €2,945 million, or 30 percent, of total exports.

Meanwhile, imports rose by €105 million, or 2 percent, to €5,473 million compared with February 2016, mainly due to higher purchases of petroleum (25 percent). By contrast, imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines dropped 31 percent.

The EU accounted for 63 percent of the value of goods imports in February 2017, with €1,219 million, or 22 percent, of total imports coming from the UK. Imports from the UK decreased by €54 million, or 4 percent, compared with February 2016., mainly due to small decreases in the imports of food and live animals and machinery and transport equipment. The US with €767 million, or 14 percent, and China with €283 million, or 5 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports.

In the first two months of the year, the trade surplus increased to €8.5 billion from €6.8 billion in the same period of 2016, as exports advanced 12 percent to €19.2 billion while imports rose 3 percent to €10.7 billion.




Thursday April 13 2017
Irish Inflation Rate Rises To 3-1/2-Year High In March
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish consumer prices increased by 0.7 percent in the year to March 2017 after rising by 0.5 percent in the previous month. It was the highest inflation rate since July 2013, driven by higher cost for transport, restaurants and hotels and miscellaneous goods and services.

Year-on-year, the biggest upwards contribution came from: Transport (5.3 percent from 3.6 percent in February); restaurants and hotels (2.2 percent from 2.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (2 percent from 2.1 percent). Additional gains came from: Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1 percent from 1.4 percent in February); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.5 percent from -0.1 percent); and health (inflation steady at 1.7 percent). By contrast, cost continued to drop for: Food and non-alcoholic beverages (-2.6 percent, the same as in February); recreation and culture (-2.4 percent, the same as in February); and clothing and footwear (-3.8 percent from -2.5 percent).

Annual core inflation, which excludes energy and unprocessed food, was recorded at 0.2 percent.
  
On a monthly basis, consumer prices grew by 0.6 percent, the same as in the previous month. The most significant monthly price changes were increases in transport (2.1 percent) and clothing and footwear (1.9 percent). There were decreases in alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-0.3 percent) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (-0.2 percent).

The harmonized index increased by 0.6 percent compared to a year earlier and by 0.6 percent in the month.




Tuesday April 04 2017
Irish Jobless Rate Falls To Nearly 9-Year Low
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in March 2017 from 6.6 percent in the previous month and 8.3 percent in the same month of the previous year. It was the lowest jobless rate since June 2008, as the number of unemployed continued to decline.

The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 141,400 in March 2017, down from 144,700 when compared to the February 2017 figure and a decrease of 39,800 when compared to March 2016.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for males was recorded at 6.9 percent, down from 7.1 percent in February and from 9.8 percent a year earlier; while for females it was recorded at 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in the previous month and from 6.6 percent in March 2016. The number of males unemployed dropped by 2,200 from the previous month to 83,500, while the number of females unemployed decreased by 1,100 to 57,900.

Youth unemployment rate fell to 13.9 percent, the lowest reading since July 2008, from 14.5 percent in the previous month.

Unemployment has fallen sharply since the jobless rate hit a high of 15.2 percent in January 2012.




Wednesday March 15 2017
Irish Trade Surplus Reaches Record High
CSO | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Ireland recorded a EUR 5.75 billion trade surplus in January of 2017 compared to a downwardly revised EUR 3.79 billion surplus in the previous month. It is the biggest surplus on record as exports jumped 7 percent to record high while imports slumped 20 percent to the lowest in a year.

Exports rose to EUR 10.84 billion, recovering from a 2 percent drop in December. Imports declined to EUR 5.09 billion, following a 1.2 percent drop in December. 

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, exports went up 14 percent compared to the previous year, boosted by sales of chemicals and related products (14 percent) and machinery and transport equipment (14 percent). Imports went up 3 percent year-on-year, mainly due to a 66 percent jump in purchases of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials.

The EU accounted for EUR 5.086 billion (51 percent) of total goods exports in January of which EUR 1.355 billion went to Belgium and EUR 1.073 billion to Great Britain. The USA was the largest export destination accounting for EUR 3.104 million (31 percent) of total sales. Goods imports from the EU made up 60 percent of the total purchases, with EUR 1.251 billion (24 percent) coming from Great Britain. The USA with EUR 0.645 billion (12 percent) and China with EUR 0.392 billion (8 percent) were the largest non-EU sources of imports.


Wednesday March 15 2017
Irish Inflation Rate Hits The Highest Level In 7 Months
CSO |Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com

Irish consumer prices increased 0.5 percent year-on-year in February of 2017, following a 0.3 percent rise in the previous month. It is the highest inflation rate since July last year, boosted by prices of transport, restaurants and hotels and miscellaneous goods and services. On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.6 percent after a 0.5 percent decline in January.

Year-on-year, main contributors to the rise were: transport (3.6 percent vs 2.8 percent in January); restaurants and hotels (2.1 percent vs 2 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (2.1 percent vs 2 percent). Additional upward pressure came from: housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.4 percent vs 1.3 percent) and health (1.7 percent vs 1.3 percent). In contrast, cost continued to fall for: food and non-alcoholic beverages (-2.6 percent vs -2.4 percent), recreation and culture (-2.4 percent vs -2.3 percent) and clothing and footwear (-2.5 percent vs -2.6 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.6 percent, following a 0.5 percent drop in January. The most significant monthly price changes were increases in clothing and footwear (6.4 percent) and furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (1.5 percent). There were declines in food and non-alcoholic beverages (-0.9 percent) and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (-0.8 percent).

The harmonized index increased 0.3 percent compared to a year earlier and rose 0.5 percent in the month.


Thursday March 09 2017
Irish Economy Grows 2.5% In Q4
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Ireland's gross domestic product advanced 2.5 percent on quarter in the three months to December 2016, easing from a 4 percent expansion in the previous period. Fixed investment and household consumption were the main drivers of growth while net exports contributed negatively, largely due to a jump in imports.

On the expenditure side, capital investment, which accounts for approximately 35 percent of domestic demand, jumped 85.7 percent (-1.5 percent in Q3); household consumption, which accounts for almost half of domestic demand, advanced 0.7 percent (the same as in Q3); and government expenditure increased 1.4 percent (0.9 percent in Q3). By contrast, net exports declined by 93.7 percent with the import increase (37.2 percent from -5.7 percent in Q3) outpacing the change in exports (4.9 from 2.4 percent in Q3). 

On the output side of the accounts, industry made the most positive contribution to growth, rising by 4.9 percent (3.5 percent in Q3), within which manufacturing recorded a 3 percent increase with building and construction recording a slight decline of 0.3 percent. Increases were also recorded in agriculture (2.3 percent from 2.4 percent in Q3) and public administration and defence (1.6 percent from -1.9 percent in Q3). Distribution, transport, software and communication declined by 1.1 percent (from 5 percent in Q3), while other services decreased by 0.8 percent (from 1.2 percent in Q3).

Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the economy expanded 7.2 percent after growing by 6.2 percent in the previous period.

In 2016 as a whole, the GDP advanced 5.2 percent, slowing from a 26.3 percent growth in 2015. Capital formation rose strongly by 45.5 percent over the previous year; personal consumption rose by 3 percent; and government expenditure exhibited an increase of 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, net exports fell, as import growth of 10.3 percent outpaced that of exports at 2.4 percent. On the production side, building and construction recorded an 11.4 percent increase and manufacturing recorded a 1.8 percent increase. The distribution, transport, software and communications sector increased by 7.8 percent while the agriculture sector increased by 6.2 percent, and other services by 6.0 percent. Public administration and defence recorded an annual increase of 4.4 percent.




Tuesday February 28 2017
Irish Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.6% In February
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in February 2017 from a downwardly revised 6.7 percent in the previous month and 8.4 percent in the same month of the previous year. It was the lowest reading since July 2008, as the number of unemployed continued to decline.

The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 145,100 in February 2017, down from 148,000 when compared to the January 2017 figure and a decrease of 36,200 when compared to February 2016.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for males was recorded at 7.1 percent, down from 7.3 percent in January and from 9.9 percent a year earlier; while for females it was recorded at 5.9 percent, down from 6 percent in the previous month and from 6.5 percent in February 2016. The number of males unemployed dropped by 1,900 from the previous month to 85,900, while the number of females unemployed decreased by 1,000 to 59,200.

Youth unemployment rate fell to 14.5 percent, the lowest reading since July 2008, from 15.1 percent in the previous month.

Unemployment has fallen sharply since the jobless rate hit a high of 15.2 percent in January 2012.


Tuesday February 21 2017
Irish Inflation Rate Rises To 6-Month High
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish consumer prices increased by 0.3 percent in the year to January 2017, the first rise in six months, after showing no growth in the previous month. It was the highest inflation rate since July last year, driven by higher cost for transport, restaurants and hotels and miscellaneous goods and services.

Year-on-year, the biggest upwards contribution came from: Transport (2.8 percent from 0.5 percent in December); restaurants and hotels (2 percent from 1.9 percent) and miscellaneous goods and services (2 percent from 2.2 percent). Additional gains came from: Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (1.3 percent from 0.8 percent in December); and health (1.3 percent from 1.2 percent). By contrast, cost continued to drop for: Food and non-alcoholic beverages (-2.4 percent from -2.8 percent in December); recreation and culture (-2.3 percent from -2.1 percent); and clothing and footwear (-2.6 percent from -3.8 percent)
  
On a monthly basis, consumer prices declined by 0.5 percent, after showing no growth in December. The most significant monthly price changes were decreases in clothing and footwear (- 9 percent) and furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (-3 percent). There were increases in alcoholic beverages and tobacco (1.5 percent) and food and non-alcoholic beverages (0.4 percent).

The harmonized index increased by 0.2 percent compared to a year earlier and fell by 0.5 percent in the month.


Wednesday February 15 2017
Irish Trade Surplus Narrows 1% MoM In December
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish seasonally adjusted trade surplus decreased by 1 percent to €4,018 million in December 2016 from an upwardly revised €4,060 million in the previous month, as exports fell by 6 percent and imports declined by 10 percent, preliminary figures showed.

Seasonally adjusted goods exports decreased by €646 million, or 6 percent, to €9,608 million compared with November 2016; and imports also decreased, by €604 million, or 10 percent, to €5,590 million, preliminary figures showed.

Year-on-year, the non-seasonally adjusted value of exports decreased by €415 million, or 5 percent, to €8,836 million, due to lower sales of medical and pharmaceutical products (-16 percent), and office machinery and automatic data processing machines, including computers (-23 percent). Meanwhile, exports of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances rose 143 percent.

The EU accounted for €4,616 million, or 52 percent, of total goods exports, of which €1,060 million went to the UK and €1,037 million to Belgium. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €2,109 million, or 24 percent, of total exports in December 2016. Exports to the EU increased by €36 million, or 1 percent, while exports to the rest of the world decreased by €450 million, or 10 percent. 

Meanwhile, imports went down by €1,449 million, or 21 percent, to €5,545 million compared with December 2015, mainly due to lower purchases of road vehicles (-10 percent), organic chemicals (-43 percent) and medical and pharmaceutical products (-25 percent).

The EU accounted for €3,629, or 65 percent, of the value of goods imports, with €1,421 million, or 26 percent, of total imports coming from the UK. The US with €593 million, or 11 percent, and China with €402 million, or 7 percent, were the main non-EU sources of imports. Imports from the EU decreased by €864 million, or 19 percent and imports from the rest of the world also decreased by €585 million, or 23 percent.

In 2016, the trade surplus widened sharply to €47.3 billion from €42.3 billion in 2015. Exports jumped 4 percent to a record high of €116.9 billion, mainly boosted by sales of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (150 percent) and organic chemicals (10 percent). Among major trading partners, exports to the UK decreased by 4 percent and those to EU countries fell 0.3 percent while sales to the US and to the rest of the world rose by 12 percent and by 9 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, imports shrank 0.7 percent to €69.6 billion, dragged by mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (-27 percent) and machinery specialised for particular industries (-48 percent). Imports from the UK decreased by 8 percent and those from EU countries and from the rest of the world dropped by 1 percent each.


Tuesday January 31 2017
Irish Unemployment Rate Drops To Fresh 8-1/2-Year Low
CSO | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com

Irish seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent in January 2017 from 7.2 percent in the previous month and from 8.5 percent in the same month of the previous year. It was the lowest reading since August 2008, as the number of unemployed declined further.

The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 154,800 in January 2017, down from 157,700 when compared to the December 2016 figure and a decrease of 29,800 when compared to January 2016.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for males was recorded at 7.9 percent, down from 8.1 percent in December and from 10.2 percent a year earlier; while for females it was recorded at 6 percent, down from 6.1 percent from the previous month and from 6.6 percent in January 2016. The number of males unemployed dropped by 2,400 from the previous month to 94,700, while the number of females unemployed decreased by 500 to 60,100.

Youth unemployment rate fell to 13.5 percent, the lowest reading since June 2008, from 14.4 percent in the previous month.

Unemployment has fallen sharply since the jobless rate hit a high of 15.2 percent in the first two months of 2012.