IRELAND’S ECONOMIC OUTPUT fell by 1.2% in the three months between April and June 2010, according to statistics released this morning by the Central Statistics Office.
Economic output for the second quarter as measured in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) totalled €41.13 billion, down about €500m on the first three months of the year.
Gross National Product (GNP), meanwhile, which measures the wealth that remains on these shores and is considered by many to be a better measure of Ireland’s economic wealth, fell by 0.3% during the same period.
By comparison, GDP had risen by 2.2% in the first quarter, which had marked the official end of the recession (defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth). GNP, however, has been in constant decline since late 2008 – meaning that arguably the recession is ongoing.
GDP has fallen by 1.8% since the same quarter of last year, while GNP is down a significant 4.1%.
The return to negative growth in GDP, however, means that if the economy shrinks in the third quarter, Ireland will have definitively plunged back into a second, ‘double-dip’, recession.
Consumer spending dropped 1.7% based on the same period of 2009, while capital investment plummeted by 19.9%.
Net exports, however, grew by €884m in comparison to the same period of last year.
Finance minister Brian Lenihan has commended the growth in exports and has insisted Ireland must export its way out of the current economic difficulties. ”What these figures show is a stabilisation, not a double-dip recession,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.
On Newstalk, meanwhile, Taoiseach Brian Cowen has similarly maintained that a ‘double-dip’ cannot be predicted on the basis of a single set of economic data.