The proceedings of the 170th session of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland can now be accessed online. Links to the articles are listed below. The hard copy of the publication will be available from Spring 2018.
Deeter, Karl; Quinn, Frank; Duffy, David (SSISI, 2017)
Linehan, Timothy (SSISI, 2017)
Stuart, Rebecca (SSISI, 2017)
Barry, Frank (SSISI, 2017)
Callan, T.; Colgan, B.; Keane, C.; Logue, C.; Walsh, J.R.(SSISI, 2017)
Nolan, Brian (SSISI, 2017)
Reidy, Theresa; Suiter, Jane (SSISI, 2017)
Layte, Richard; Landy, David (SSISI, 2017)
Smyth, Diarmaid (SSISI, 2017)
O’Reilly, Dermot; Rosato, Michael (SSISI, 2017)
Today, the Bank published its first Quarterly Bulletin (QB 1 – January 2018) of the year, including forecasts to 2019. The outlook remains robust with GDP forecast to grow by 4.4 and 3.9 per cent in 2018 and 2019, respectively. This forecast is underpinned by strong domestic demand and broad based employment gains.
Some of the highlights include:
- the increasing prospect of full employment – we see the unemployment rate falling towards 5 per cent by next year with an additional 89,000 persons in employment.
- the composition of employment is likely to differ markedly relative to the previous employment peak (in 2007). Back then, 1 in 9 persons were directly employed in construction relative to 1 in 16 expected in 2019.
- Inflationary pressures remaining subdued but picking up from 0.7 per cent this year to 0.9 per cent in 2019. This partly reflects an unwinding of the negative impact on goods prices from recent euro/sterling exchange rate movements. (For more on exchange rate pass through, see Reddan and Rice (2017)).
- The main risks relate to Brexit, the global trade and taxation environment as well as domestic overheating.
As regards the latter, a key question at present is the extent of remaining slack within the economy and prospects for wages and employment. Recent research within the Bank (Linehan et al., (2017) and Byrne and Conefrey (2017)) have addressed some of these issues. Further, the newly published labour market data (documented in the Bulletin) indicate that broader measures of labour supply signal that that there is still additional labour supply available. All of this suggests that while labour market conditions are tightening, there is still scope for unemployment to fall further before more significant wage pressures emerge.
In terms of the Irish economy, the Bulletin contains short Boxes on:
- international economic outlook (Box A – page 12)
- the recovery in personal consumption expenditure (Box B – page 15)
- trade deflators dynamics (Box C – page 21)
- the new labour force survey (Box D – page 24).
On the financing side of the economy, there are short pieces on:
- household debt and disposable income (Box A – page 38)
- the statistical treatment of new bank holding company structures (Box B – page 44 )
- holders of Irish resident investment funds shares across the Euro Area (Box C – page 46).
Finally, the Bulletin also includes a signed article by Kelly and Osborne-Kinch (2018) looking at new quarterly statistics on insurance corporations.
The Bank published the 2017 H2 edition of the Household Credit Market Report last week. The report collates information from a wide range of internal Central Bank and external sources into one document to give an up-to-date picture of developments in the household credit market in Ireland. It covers both mortgage and consumer credit. Among the highlights in this edition, mortgage credit grew at an annual rate of 1.4 per cent for private dwelling homes in Q2 2017 but remains negative for Buy-to-Let purposes (-8.6 per cent). New mortgage approvals and drawdowns continued to increase in Q2 2017, with First Time Buyers continuing to account for roughly half of all approvals and drawdowns. For the period January to June 2017, the average originating loan-to-value (OLTV) ratio on new lending for FTBs was 79.4 per cent and the average originating loan-to-income (OLTI) ratio was 3.0. The corresponding figures for Second and Subsequent Borrowers (SSBs) were 67.6 per cent and 2.5 respectively. These ratios increased slightly in comparison to the second half of 2016. On average, FTBs and SSBs borrowed €199,414 and €229,332 respectively during the period January to June 2017. In terms of consumer credit, growth remains positive at 5.4 per cent year-on-year in August 2017, reflecting growth in loans of a maturity of between 1 and 5 years. More details from the Report can be found here.
The robust performance of the Irish labour market over the past number of years offers the most tangible evidence of the recovery in the Irish economy. With unemployment falling and vacancies rising, an obvious question that arises is the extent to which the current pace of growth can be maintained. Today, colleagues in the Central Bank published a paper examining this very issue, bringing together a range of labour market indicators to assess the current state of play including prospects for wages over the short-term. We also revisit Okun’s law and the Phillips curve drawing on the latest Irish data. We hope that this research proves useful as 2017 draws to a close. The paper is titled ‘The Labour Market and Wage Growth after a Crisis’ and can also be accessed by clicking this link.
The Central Bank of Ireland is organising a workshop on the effects macroeconomic policy announcements have on agents’ expectations and their actions. The main focus is on the Dynamic, Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) macroeconomic models used for policy analysis. The workshop will take place on 5 and 6 October, 2017 in Dublin.
Expectations of households and firms regarding future monetary and fiscal policies have been at the heart of macroeconomic policy debates at least since the 1970s, most notably in the context of how to limit the costs of disinflations. Since the financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis, policymakers aiming to stabilise inflation and economic activity had to rely even more on their ability to influence the expectations of the private sector. As short term interest rates hit the zero lower bound, some central banks aimed to influence long term rates by announcing the future path of the policy rate, and also tried to affect long term rates more directly by means of asset purchases. Similarly, the key rationale behind fiscal policy measures taken during the crisis and the accompanying structural reforms was that their favourable effect on the expectations of households and firms would counterbalance direct contractionary effects. This workshop aims to be a forum for recent contributions analysing the current macroeconomic effects of future policy changes or long term plans.
The programme can be found here:
Programme – Macroeconomic Effects of Policy Announcements FINAL.
Next Thursday (May 25) I will present a paper to The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland (SSISI) on the recovery in the public finances following the financial crisis. The meeting takes place at the Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street at 5.30pm. Details (including the paper) are available on the SSISI website here.
In recent years, the summer period has become a boom time for those with an interest in the public finances. The past few weeks have seen a number of releases in the area including the Government’s Summer Economic Statement and IFAC’s Fiscal Assessment Report. The upcoming National Economic Dialogue will also spur debate in advance of Budget 2017.
With this in mind, readers might be interested in recent work published by myself and Kieran McQuinn (ESRI) in the Journal of European Real Estate Research examining the sustainable nature of housing related taxes in Ireland. Using a 3 pronged modelling approach we quantify the extent of housing related tax windfall gains and losses over a 30 year period as a result of disequilibrium in the housing market. We find that the fiscal position compatible with equilibrium in the housing market has at times diverged greatly from actual outturns both during the boom, the collapse and in the subsequent recovery.
The paper highlights the role played by the housing market in influencing the tax take and above all points to the need for a more granular approach to be taken in tax forecasting within Ireland. A link to the paper can be found here: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/JERER-01-2016-0004 with an older working paper version available here: http://www.esri.ie/publications/assessing-the-sustainable-nature-of-housing-related-taxation-receipts-the-case-of-ireland/.