1. Market Research
Country Report Ireland September 2017

Country Report Ireland September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2557457
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect the Fine Gael-led minority coalition government of the new prime minister, Leo Varadkar, to last a full term and forecasts an early general election in the first half of 2018.
  • The UK's vote to leave the EU is likely to have considerable negative economic consequences for Ireland and could complicate the Irish govern-ment's relations with the EU and Northern Ireland.
  • Ireland's corporate tax regime, which has helped multinationals to cut their tax bills, will remain a source of tension with the country's EU partners and the US, even though tax loopholes have been closed.
  • We expect the budget deficit to widen moderately, from 0.6% of GDP in 2016 and 0.5% in 2017 to 1% in 2021, as solid revenue growth offsets higher interest and non-interest government spending.
  • The public debt/GDP ratio has fallen steadily, from a year-end peak of 119.7% in 2012 to 72.9% in 2016, helped by a strong fiscal performance but also national accounts revisions. We expect it to fall to about 60% in 2021.
  • We forecast a slowdown in real GDP growth, from 5.1% in 2016 to 4.5% in 2017 and an average of 3.2% per year in 2018-21, reflecting in part the negative effect on Ireland's economy of the UK's vote to leave the EU.
  • We expect large current-account surpluses, but forecast that they will fall, from 10% of GDP in 2015 and 4.7% in 2016 to an annual average of 4.1% in 2017-21.


  • In July the government hardened its position towards the UK on Brexit negotiations, anticipating the EU's negative response to the UK's position papers, including one on Northern Ireland and relations with the Republic of Ireland.
  • In July the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.4%, up from 6.3% in June-the first monthly increase in the unemployment rate for 15 months.
  • In July consumer prices (EU measure) fell by 0.2% year on year. In the first seven months of 2017 prices rose by an average of 0.1% year on year.
  • In June residential property prices rose by an average of 11.6% year on year-an acceleration from recent months and the fastest pace of expansion since mid-2015.
  • In January-June the goods trade surplus (fob-cif, based on customs and Intrastat data) reached EUR25.1bn. Exports rose by 7.3%, and imports by 1.8%.
  • In January-June growth of exports was driven in particular by sales to Great Britain (the UK excluding Northern Ireland), which rose by 14.2%, and the US and Canada, which rose by 13.5% combined. Great Britain accounted for 11.7% of all Irish goods exports, and 28.6% went to the US and Canada.

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