Monday, March 26, 2012

26/3/2012: QNA Q4 2011 - Part 4

In the first post on QNA results for 2011 I covered data for annual GDP and GNP in constant prices terms. The second post focused on GDP/GNP gap and the cost of the ongoing Great Recession on the potential GDP and GNP. The third post focused on quarterly sectoral decomposition of GDP and GNP in constant prices terms. And a short digression from QNA results here showed how difficult it is, really, to reach any consensus on some of Ireland's economic performance parameters.

In this post, let's consider the decomposition of the GDP and GNP on the basis of expenditure lines, as measured in current market prices.

Headline numbers:

  • In Q4 2011 personal consumption of goods and services rose 0.9% qoq to €20,319mln, but declined 0.8% yoy. Compared with the same period of 2007 personal consumption is now dow 15.3%. YOY -0.8% contraction in Q4 2011 followed on 2.96% contraction in Q3 2011. In Q4 2011 personal consumption accounted for 52.45% of quarterly GDP, this is actually higher than the share of GDPit took in Q4 2007 (49.89%) - so much for 'unsustainable consumption binge' back at the peak of the Celtic Tiger period.
  • Q4 2011 net expenditure by central and local government stood at €5,991mln which was 5.1% down qoq and down 8.1% yoy. This follows on 2.32% contraction in yoy terms in Q3 2011. Relative to Q4 2007 net expenditure by central and local government now stands at -17.1%. However, the share of net government expenditure in overall GDP rose from 15.04% in Q4 2007 to 15.46% in Q4 2011.
  • Gross domestic capital formation at Q4 2011 stood at €3,923mln which was up 12.7% qoq, but down 1.9% yoy and the annual decline in Q4 2011 came in after an 18.3% contraction in Q3 2011. Fixed capital formation was down 66.8% in Q4 2011 compared to Q4 2007. In Q4 2007 gross fixed capital formation accounted for 24.56% of GDP, while inQ4 2011 this share fell to 10.13%.
Chart below illustrates the above changes



  • Exports of goods and services hit another historic record at €41,766mln in Q4 2011 - a rise of 0.4% qoq and 6.2% yoy. In Q3 2011 exports rose 1.7% yoy. Q4 2011 exports were 8.3% ahead of Q4 2007 and if in 2007 exports accounted for 80.24% of our GDP, in Q4 2011 this share was 107.8% of quarterly GDP. This is a remarkable performance.
  • Imports rose 0.4% in qoq terms to €332,904mln in Q4 2011. Q4 2011 imports are up also 0.4% yoy and this follows on a 0.35% contraction in Q3 2011. Relative to Q4 2007 imports are down 5.2%. Back in Q4 2007 imports stood at the level of 72.23% of quarterly GDP. In Q4 2011 this share was 84.93%.
  • Net trade surplus hit a record of €8,862mln - third consecutive quarterly record and third consecutive quarter with trade surpluses in excess of €8 billion. Trade surplus was up 0.3% qoq and 34.8% up yoy inQ4 2011, which comes on foot of a 10.60% yoy increase inQ3 2011. Stellar performance. In Q4 2011 trade surplus was 22.88% of GDP and this is up from 8.01% of Q4 2007 GDP. Compared to Q4 2007 trade surplus in Q4 2011 rose massive 130.2%.
  • Once again, trade figures confirm the simple reality that exports-led growth is not capable of sustaining economic recovery. Average quarterly trade surplus in 2007 stood at €4,295mln and 2005-2007 average quarterly trade surplus was €4,467mln. In 2009 average quarterly trade surplus rose to €6,234mln, followed by €7,467mln in 2010 and €8,408mln in 2011. In other words, Ireland experienced a massive exports boom for the last 3 years in a row, and yet we are continuing to remain in a recession.



  • GDP at current market prices stood at €38,743 in Q4 2011 which is 0.9 below Q3 2011, marking the second consecutive qoq decline, which is consistent with Ireland officially entering a new recession. 
  • GDP actually rose in yoy terms by 3.4% inQ4 2011 which comes on foot of a 0.79% contraction in Q3 2011. relative to Q4 2007, GDP in current market prices is now down 19.4%.
  • Net factor income from the rest of the world rose 10.8% qoq to -€9,017mln, which marks the first quarter since Q1 2010 when outflows of payments abroad exceeded trade surplus. This attests to the extreme levels of transfer pricing deployed by the MNCs in the Irish economy. Net factor income losses in Irish economy in Q4 2011 were up65.3% year on year, following a 19.5% rise in yoy terms in Q3 2011. Transfer payments abroad rose 28.3 on Q4 2007. Overall, an equivalent of some 23.27% of Irish GDP was paid out in factor payments to foreigners in Q4 2011 which is up from 14.62% in Q4 2007.
  • As the result, GNP fell to €30,051mln in Q4 2011 down 2.8% qoq marking the fifth consecutive quarter of qoq declines. Yoy, GNP in current market prices was down a massive 5.4% in Q4 2011 which comes on foot of an equally large 5.16% contraction in Q3 2011. These figures reflect deep recession continuing to ravage the Irish economy. It is incorrect to attribute the entire GNP to solely domestic activity as it includes net exports (trade balance) activity that is not expatriated abroad.
  • Overall, Irish GNP in current market price in Q4 2011 stood at 26.5% below the levels attained in Q4 2007. This means that more than 1/4 of the overall domestic and non-transfer pricing MNCs' activity has been wiped off the Irish national accounts during the current crisis.


The chart below highlights the evolution of transfers abroad relative to GDP, GNP and to trade balance. Transfers of income to the rest of the world from ireland has hit 101.75% of the trade surplus in Q4 2011 - rising above 100% for the first times since Q1 2010 when it stood at 101.80%. We are still well behind the levels of 2005-2009 when it averaged 138.74%. Which, given the negative sign with which transfers of income abroad enter the national accounts means that we have loads of room more for reductions in GNP on the back of 'exports recovery'.


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