Consumer spending in volume terms was 9.1% lower in Q1 2009 compared with the
same period of the previous year. Capital investment, in constant prices, declined by 34.1% in Q1
2009 compared with Q1 2008. Net Exports in constant prices were €2,814mln higher in Q1 2009 compared with Q1 2008.
The volume of output of Industry (incl. Construction) decreased by 10.5% in Q1 2009 compared with Q1 2008. Within this the output of the Construction sector fell by 31.4%, output of Distribution, Transport and Communications was down 10.9% while Output of Other Services was 3.5% lower in Q1 2009 compared with the same period of last year.
Note declines in GVA above - we are not getting any better on value extraction either, with exception of 'other services' sector...
Domestic activity simply collapsed, as evidenced by the expanding GDP/GNP gap. More taxes, please, Mr Cowen!
Today's Fáilte Ireland May traffic figures confirmed the accelerating nature of collapse in air passenger traffic. In May, traffic fell by 15%, following a 10% decline of the first four months to April. Since the Government’s €10 tax was introduced on April 1st, the rate of traffic decline and tourism collapse has accelerated. The most significant fall was in arrivals to Ireland (down 19%). See Balance of Payments figures below for more details. Since the beginning of 2009, Belgian, Dutch, Greek and Spanish governments have all scrapped tourist taxes and/or reduced airport charges to zero. In contrast, our pack of policy idiots in the Leinster House decided that taxing tourists is just fine, as, apparently, they believe that Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Chinese, Americans and other nationals have no choice but travel to this global epicenter of cultural life and history that is Ireland. Time to call for an encore, Mr Lenihan.
Per CSO release today, the gross external debt of all resident sectors (i.e. general government, the monetary authority, financial and non-financial corporations and households) at the end of Q1 2009 stood at €1,693bn, an increase of €32bn on Q4 2008. The increase arose from a combination of exchange rate effects and the availability of new data.
Per CSO, "the liabilities - mostly loans - of monetary financial institutions (i.e. credit institutions and money market funds) amounted to €723bn. This was €56bn lower than for end-December and, at 43% of the total debt, was a smaller share than in the previous quarter. The decrease was due to a large reduction in debt liabilities, particularly short-term loans, and is to an extent reflected by an increase of over €50bn in Monetary Authority liabilities to the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) including balances in the TARGET 2 settlement system of the ESCB." General Government liabilities increased to €60bn driven by long-term bond issues more than offsetting a reduction in short-term money market instrument issues.
In other words - all's grand in the ZanuFF land: the banks are getting better and the taxpayers are getting deeper into debt.
And if debt figures are not bad enough, here are the latest Balance of Payments data - courtesy also of CSO release today: "The Balance of Payments current account deficit for Q1 2009 was €2,530m, over €1.6bn lower than that of €4,175m for the same period in 2008". Sounds good? Not really.
Due mainly to much lower imports:
- Q1 merchandise surplus of €8,020m was over €3.7bn higher yoy;
- The invisibles deficit increased by almost €2.1bn to €10,550m;
- Services (€2,180m) and income (€7,586m) deficits were both about €1bn higher.
- Total service exports at €16,050m dropped €360m largely due to insurance and financial services.
- Service imports at €18,230m were up over €600m due mainly to higher royalties/licences and miscellaneous business services.
- Tourism and travel receipts (€640m) and expenditure abroad (€1,324m) were down.
- The higher income deficit results largely from reduced profits and interest earnings by Irish-owned businesses abroad (€1,808m) along with increased outflows of profits and interest from foreign-owned enterprises in Ireland (€8,631m).
- Interest outflows on Government External Debt also increased.
- In the financial account, Irish (mostly IFSC) residents redeemed €40bn of foreign portfolio assets and repaid €27.8bn of portfolio liabilities.
- Inward direct investment was low at €794m and was similar to outflow.
Of course, reasoned our seasoned policy morons, we simply have no alternative to raising taxes everywhere, for the public sector wages must be paid at an increasing rate. Never mind recession and Government promises to cut the public sector excess fat - if anyone had any mistaken beliefs that this Government is serious about tackling our state of public sector insolvency, hold your hope no longer. CSO figures for public sector employment and earnings released yesterday show once again that Brian Cowen is hellbent on robbing the ordinary taxpayers to pay for public sector cronies' privilege to earn lavish wages and perks. Public sector wages rose 3.4% yoy last month and public sector employment was up 1,000. So let's tax and borrow our way to pay public sector wages and pensions, should we? Irish Economic Model (as opposed to a real economic model) at last.