Economic Assessment of the Euro Area

On behalf of the EUROFRAME group of research institutes, the ESRI today published a report entitled “Economic Assessment of the Euro Area”.

Among the findings contained in the report are the following:

·         As a result of relatively weak external demand, continuing financial uncertainty and the contractionary stance of fiscal policy, output fell in the Euro Area in 2012 (-0.5 per cent). Over the course of 2012 there was a slowdown in some key economies, which were previously contributing much of the growth. This slowdown has carryover effects into 2013.

·         Even though we anticipate a recovery in confidence in some major economies over the course of this year, the outcome for the Euro Area as a whole is still likely to be a further limited fall in GDP in 2013 of 0.3 per cent. Weak external demand will not be enough to compensate for the fall in domestic demand.

·         For 2014, a recovery in domestic demand should see a return to significant growth in GDP of around 1.3 per cent. However, this forecast must be considered in the light of the continuing vulnerability to financial shocks of a number of the Euro Area member states.

·         This vulnerability of countries in financial distress is being addressed through a continuing major fiscal adjustment. However, the fiscal adjustment under way across other members of the Area is also having a substantial negative effect on growth, particularly in the crisis countries. Without this fiscal adjustment the Euro Area would be looking to growth this year at around 1½ per cent and next year at approximately 2 per cent.

A Review of Irish Energy Policy

The Macro-economic Impact of Changing the Rate of Corporation Tax

Today the ESRI has published a research bulletin summarising a paper entitled: The Macro-economic Impact of Changing the Rate of Corporation Tax by Thomas Conefrey (Central Bank of Ireland) and John FitzGerald (ESRI).

This paper considers the impact of changes in the rate of corporation tax in Ireland affecting the business and financial services sector. A model is estimated that relates services exports and output to world activity, competitiveness and the rate of corporation tax. This model indicates that a reduction in the rate of corporation tax in the 1990s stimulated exports and, even allowing for profit repatriations by foreign firms and replacement of lost tax revenue, it resulted in an increase in domestic output. The increase in profitability suggests that some of the increased output involved relocation of profits to Ireland by multinational firms.

The Research Bulletin is available here.

The Banking Sector and Recovery in the EU Economy

Today the ESRI has published a research bulletin summarising a paper entitled: THE BANKING SECTOR AND RECOVERY IN THE EU ECONOMY By Ray Barrell (NIESR), Tatiana Fic (NIESR), John Fitz Gerald (ESRI), Ali Orazgani (NIESR) and Rachel Whitworth (NIESR)

This paper considers how banks within Europe have become larger and more international as Europe has moved towards a unified financial services market, but this trend has been reversed since the crisis. In order to establish the effect of these structural changes on output in Europe, we use a micro data set to investigate the impact of size (as measured by asset size) on banks’ net interest margins. We show that larger banks offer lower borrowing costs for firms, which raises sustainable output. We then use NiGEM to look at the impact of banks becoming smaller and moving back into their home territory. We investigate the impacts on output according to country size, showing that the effects are generally larger in small countries, and also larger in economies that are more dependent on bank finance for their business investment decisions.

The Research Bulletin is available here.

The full version of the article is available at a fee here.

IMF/EU Deal Interest Rate

In an article in the Sunday Business Post I explain how the deal will allow Ireland to finance its deficit over the next three years at somewhat lower cost than the headline interest rate would suggest. The article is here.