Monday

23rd Apr 2018

Irish economy in surprise decline, threatens debt-cutting plan

  • Personal consumption fell by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2013 (Photo: William Murphy)

Ireland's economy suffered a shock decline in the final months of 2013, posting negative growth for the year and casting a pall over the country's full return to the financial markets.

Data from the country's Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Thursday (13 March) indicated that its gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 2.3 per ent in the fourth quarter, turning a year that had been expected to yield modest growth into a 0.3 percent recession for the year as a whole.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • A surprise decline? Ireland fell back into recession following a sharp fall in the final three months of 2013. (Photo: Paola Farrera)

According to the figures, personal consumption fell by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2013, while exports rose 2.1 percent and imports climbed 5.8 percent.

Analysts attributed the decline to the so-called pharmaceutical patent cliff, with a sharp drop-off in revenue from pharmaceutical sales as a number of drugs made in Ireland lose intellectual property protection.

"The numbers show that measured GDP in Ireland fell slightly in 2013. By contrast, labour market conditions are encouraging," said Irish finance minister Michael Noonan.

But the figures are still an unexpected setback. The European Commission expects Ireland's economy to continue its recovery in 2014 and 2015 with GDP growth of 1.7 percent and 2.2 percent respectively. The country's unemployment rate has also started to fall and is now below the 11.9 percent average across the eurozone.

Weaker growth also reduces the prospects of Ireland starting to reduce a debt burden that peaked at 124 percent in 2013, lower only than Portugal, Italy and Greece in the EU. The Commission predicts that Ireland's debt will fall to 121 percent and 119 percent over the next two years.

The news also cast a shadow over Ireland's first full return to the bond markets. Ireland raised €1 billion from 10-year debt on Thursday, in its first auction since it was forced to seek a three year rescue package in September 2010. The auction saw Ireland's borrowing rate fall to a record low rate of fractionally below 3 percent.

Ireland became the first eurozone country to exit a bailout programme last December, after deciding not to request a temporary credit line when its €85 billion rescue finished.

Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP

Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala won a trailblazing court case two decades ago for the right of EU citizens to receive 'partial access' to documents. Now she says it is "outrageous" the European Investment Bank is refusing to release Volkswagen documents.

France tightens immigration law, sparking division

French lawmakers are cracking down on asylum seekers in a bid to send those rejected back home. Controversial measures they passed over the weekend will now be debated in the French senate in June.

France tightens immigration law, sparking division

French lawmakers are cracking down on asylum seekers in a bid to send those rejected back home. Controversial measures they passed over the weekend will now be debated in the French senate in June.

News in Brief

  1. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  2. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  3. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  4. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement
  5. Nahles elected new leader of Germany's SPD
  6. Report: EU budget to refocus on South
  7. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  8. MEPs urge better protection for journalists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  2. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  3. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  5. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  6. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  7. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  8. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  9. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  10. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  12. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations

Latest News

  1. Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP
  2. 'Strong suspicion' of corruption in Council of Europe assembly
  3. France tightens immigration law, sparking division
  4. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  5. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  6. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  7. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  8. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups