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Irish economy grew by 26.3% last year reports CSO

The Irish economy grew by a colossal 26.3% in 2015 rather than the original 7.8% estimate, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The revised growth rate, the strongest on record, reflects a 102% spike in net exports. However the figures appear to have been hugely affected by a number of once-off factors, including activity in the aircraft leasing sector and restructuring by multinational companies involving the movement of patents.

This was linked to a handful of firms relocating their assets here – some through so-called capital inversion deals.

In one case, an aircraft leasing company redomicilled its entire multibillion euro balance sheet to Ireland.

The CSO described the new data as “dramatic”.

Debt to GDP

The new figures reduce the Government’s debt to GDP ratio to below 80%.

It now estimates the annual expansion in gross domestic product (GDP) for 2015 was 26.3%.

However a better measure of the underlying growth of the economy is probably provided by consumer spending, which rose by 4.5% last year. The massive growth was driven by a huge jump in investment and exports.

Industrial output

Gross National Product (GNP), which strips out the effects of multinational profits, grew by 18.7%.

Industrial output during the year rose by a record 97.8%.

The latest figures for the first quarter of 2016 show GDP actually contracted by 2.1% while GNP rose by 1.3%. However the dramatic once-off factors affecting the 2015 figures make the 2016 first quarter estimate difficult to interpret.

Net exports during the quarter rose by 11.2% while business investment declined 16.1%.

Report by the Irish Times