When on July 12 the CSO published the latest Quarterly National Accounts, the Irish media and the Government were quick to focus on the positive side of the reported data - the revised figures for Q4 2011 that Irish GDP rose 1.4% in constant prices terms y/y in 2011 compared to 2010. Fr less attention was paid to a massive 2.5% y/y fall off in GNP and even less attention still was given to Q1 2012 preliminary estimates that showed q/q contractions in GDP of 1.1% and in GNP of 1.3%. All in, the headline figure referenced was almost always the up-beat "Irish economy grew at a euro area average rate in 2011".
Now, there are many caveats that should accompany q/q figures, including:
- Q/q changes can be volatile;
- Preliminary figures can be subject to significant revisions in the future; etc
Keeping all of this in mind, today's data release from the OECD is discomforting. Here's the chart:
As the chart above clearly shows, excluding Greece (missing data), we are the second worst performer (after Luxembourg) in terms of GDP growth in Q1 2012 in the entire OECD.
Let's hope those future revisions come in to the significant upside.