2012 National Accounts data

The new release is here.

  • 2012 nominal GDP and GNP ahead of projections used in December’s budget  (163,595/133,403 versus 163,150/130,850)
  • 2012 real growth rates were 0.9% for GDP and a remarkable 3.4% for GNP
  • Caveat –  GNP is not straightforward to interpret.  A quirk of national accounting is that the overseas profits of a firm that is headquartered in Ireland are included even if all of the shareholders are foreign. In relation to portfolio shareholders (ie holding less than 10 percent stake), GNP is then reduced when dividend payments are made to shareholders.  So,  GNP can be temporarily boosted if such a firm chooses to retain earnings rather than pass along earnings to shareholders through dividend payments.  This may be empirically relevant for Ireland in view of the pattern of some global firms opting to establish headquarters in Ireland.

4 replies on “2012 National Accounts data”

The downward revision to a 0.4% contraction in Q3 and marginally negative GDP growth in Q4 mean that the economy has technically returned to recession.

Its unfortunate that in respect of the year, that MNC distortions impact both GDP and GNP.

Services exports in 2012 were valued at constant prices at €88.2bn up from €81bn in 2011 while merchandise exports fell from €84.8bn to €82.4bn. Net exports were at €4.4bn which relates to services. Most of this results from MNC tax strategies i.e. booking end user revenues in other markets, in Ireland.

‘Computer services’ exports jumped by 15% and most of this category is dominated by the big US high tech companies: Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Facebook. Apple’s profitshifting and charges come under ‘Business services.’

I notice the out-turn of 0.9% is exactly in line with the Dept of Finance. So the official forecast has been exceptionally accurate. a little too accurate in fact

Had GDP growth been zero in q4 and previous data unrevised, calendar year growth in 2012 would have been 0.6%. There’s no way to predict revisions to the GDP back data. More likely it looks as if the DOF got a preview from the CSO of the national accounts, including the revisions, some time ago. This begs the question why it takes the cso so long to produce the national accounts? The release lags the rest of Europe by about a month

Unfortunately today’s release means we will now have to watch official forecasts more carefully, as they may contain more information on the GDP data than is publicly available. Not exactly a desirable state of affairs

“I notice the out-turn of 0.9% is exactly in line with the Dept of Finance. So the official forecast has been exceptionally accurate. a little too accurate in fact”
What is the point in obsessing about the short term changes in and accuracy of Irish GDP figures, from whatever source? They include such a large and unquantifiable proportion of non value-adding activity (from an Irish national perspective) due to the tax structuring activities of the MNC services sector that such data in fact mean little of any economic significance. So why dignify such stats by commenting on them?


does anyone know how to calculate ‘real GNP’?

Does this mean that ‘contractionary fiscal expansion’ (sic) is working? Rhetorical I assure you!

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