The Q4 2011 Quarterly National Accounts have been published by the CSO. The –1.9% seasonally adjusted drop in real GDP in Q3 has been revised to –1.1% and the first estimate for Q4 is a fall of 0.2%. Although many will claim we never exited, Ireland is technically back in a recession for the first time since the end of 2009. Real GNP fell 2.2% in the quarter.
Looking at the individual components in real terms there was a small rise in consumption and a jump of 14% in investment (though from a very low base). Government consumption declined in all four quarters in 2011. The final quarter also saw a 1.1% drop in export volumes.
The preliminary annual figures for 2011 show that real growth in the year is estimated to be 0.7%. These figures are subject to revision (as was significantly seen with the 2009 figures) and it will be June before the final figures are available.
For all our Maastricht Criteria junkies nominal GDP for 2011 is estimated to be €156,438 million, a rise of 0.3%. This is slightly above the budget day forecast of €155,250 million. Nominal GNP fell 3.4% in the year and is estimated to be €123,879 million for the year, primarily because the outflow of net factor income rose to €32,559 million from €27,785 million in 2010.
The 2011 Balance of Payments has also been published. As expected there is a small surplus on the current account. This surplus of €127 million compares to a surplus of €761 million in 2010 but remains a marked improvement on the deficits of €10 billion recorded in 2007 and 2008.
Lots more detail in the releases to be discussed.