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CSO reports mixed bag for Ireland's growth

Although GDP grew in the first quarter of 2011, GNP fell, suggesting that the domestic market is still struggling.

Image: Bernat Armangue/AP/Press Association Images

IRELAND’S GROSS domestic product (GDP) grew by 1.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year, but gross national product (GNP) fell by 4.3 per cent, according to new data released by the CSO today.

GDP includes profits made by multi-national corporations in Ireland, while GNP focuses on the value of goods and services produced by Irish-owned businesses.

The CSO reports that strong net exports held 2009 prices between the first quarter of 2010 and Q1 2011, growing by 20.6 per cent (or €1.557bn). However, domestic demand dropped by €990m for the same period.

Industry – apart from the construction sector – drove growth last year, growing by 11.2 per cent between 2009 and 2010, but construction continued to fall and activity in this sector dropped by 30.1 per cent in 2010. Other areas which showed decline were transport and communication, as well as administration and defence.

Overall last year, GDP fell by 0.4 per cent, which was less than the 1 per cent which had earlier been forecast. GNP grew slightly, by 0.3 per cent.

Analysts with KBC Bank warned that the sharp rise in GDP for Q1 2011 “overstates” the current health of the Irish economy and said that the CSO data supports the view of the Irish economy as over the worst, but still struggling to move forward.

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Minister Michael Noonan said the figures were consistent with his department’s projections, according to RTÉ. Noonan called for a boost to the domestic market, saying that people need “to go into the shops and start buying again”.

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