So CSO headlines today that Irish Net Direct Investment Position improved to €48 billion at the end of 2011. which is fine, until you read actual numbers. Here is the synopsis from CSO itself (emphasis is mine):
"Irish stocks of direct investment abroad fell by €12bn from an end-2010 position of €254.5bn to €242.5bn at the end of 2011. ...The decline between the end of 2010 and end of 2011 was mainly due to a fall in investment of €26bn in enterprises located in Central American Offshore countries. European based enterprises partially offset this decline."
Hence, Factor 1 - explaining most of the €7.2 billion in net position change is drop in investment schemes used by Irish resident companies to wash-off tax liabilities.
Next: "The level of total foreign direct investment into Ireland also fell between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011. The decrease was €19.2bn [massively in excess of net contraction in outward investment from Ireland] giving an end-2011 position of €194.5bn. The main contributors were decreases of €18bn from US and €10bn from Central America partially offset by increased investment of almost €20bn from European countries."
Hence, Factor 2 - FDI into Ireland has actually dropped, gross, by 9% year on year (please keep in mind, irish Government has cited increased FDI into Ireland as one core 'success' metric).
"Comparing the net end-year positions Ireland’s net FDI increased from €40.8bn at the end of 2010 to €48bn at end-2011."
I know I am supposed to be cheerful about the headline CSO produced, but...