Link to the University of Pittsburgh
Link to the University Library SystemContact us link
AEI Banner

Quarterly Economic Commentary, December 1997

Baker, T.J. and Duffy, David and Shortall, F. (1997) Quarterly Economic Commentary, December 1997. [Working Paper]

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (605Kb)


    For the fourth successive year, the Irish economy has performed extremely well in 1997. Real GDP is estimated to have increased by about 10½ per cent and real GNP by 9 per cent, above even the average growth rate of the previous three years. The growth has remained well balanced between exports and domestic demand, with the result that the current account of the balance of payments is estimated to have risen to 2¾ per cent of GNP while annual average employment is estimated to have increased by about 57,000 or over 4¼ per cent. Unemployment, including long term unemployment, has declined significantly, and the standardised unemployment rate for 1997 is likely to have been less than 10 per cent when final revisions are made. The public finances have been exceptionally strong, with a general government surplus having been achieved, and consumer price inflation has averaged 1½ per cent. Economic growth will continue to be rapid by historical or international standards in 1998, but considerable uncertainty surrounds the actual rate of growth that can be expected. The impact of the Asian financial crisis, and of countervailing measures by major western economies, on world output and trade cannot yet be assessed with accuracy. While currency volatility on a world basis appears set to continue, its precise evolution cannot be foreseen, and, more specifically, it is still too early for a final decision to be made on the bilateral exchange rates of the Irish pound within EMU. Making what we hope are balanced assumptions regarding such uncertainties, we forecast that real GNP will grow by about 6 per cent in 1988, implying a significant slowing of expansion in the course of the year. Total employment is projected to increase by 42,000 on an annual average basis, and the unemployment rate to decline to an average of 9¼ per cent. The public finances should remain strong, with a further general government surplus, but a major improvement over the Budget targets seems unlikely in 1998. With export growth projected to slacken and a deterioration likely in the terms of trade, the current account is forecast to fall quite sharply, although remaining in comfortable surplus. Price inflation will almost certainly accelerate, and on our assumptions the annual increase in the consumer price index seems likely to be in the region of 2¼ per cent. If the depreciation in the trade-weighted value of the Irish pound is larger and comes sooner than we have assumed, the annual average increase in prices will be greater, and could well exceed 3 per cent. This would have relatively little effect on the forecast rate of growth of real GNP in 1998, although it could alter its composition. Given the unavoidable uncertainties concerning economic prospects in 1998 and beyond, it would be most unfortunate if euphoria generated by the economic performance of the past four years were to undermine the self-discipline which was an essential contributing factor in that success. To realise the potential for sustained high growth in the coming years it is necessary that prudence and realism continue to be exercised by government, interest groups, institutions and individuals. Favourable long-term factors could be negated by short-term impatience and unrealistic expectations.

    Export/Citation:EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII (Chicago style) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
    Social Networking:
    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Ireland
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Dublin > ESRI Quarterly Economic Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 08:28
    Number of Pages: 43
    Last Modified: 23 Oct 2019 08:28

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads