Thursday, December 10, 2015

10/12/15: Irish National Accounts 3Q: Part 1: Sectoral Growth


CSO released data for national accounts for Ireland, so in the next few posts I will be covering headline results. As usual, starting with sectoral accounts, showing decomposition of growth by sector. All data is based on seasonally unadjusted figures, allowing for y/y comparatives and expressed in real terms.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector contribution to GDP:

  • Real activity in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector rose strong 16.0% y/y in 3Q 2015 a rate of growth that was more robust than 9.97% expansion recorded in the sector in 3Q 2014. This is the fastest pace of y/y growth in 3 quarters, and especially welcoming given that 2Q 2015 growth came in at negative -2.87% y/y. Overall, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector contributed EUR210 million to GDP growth in 3Q 2015, which amounts to 7% of total 3Q 2015 expansion in GDP y/y. On a cumulative 3 quarters basis, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector expanded its activity by EUR200 million or +5.67% y/y, which is well below same period 2014 growth that stood at EUR502 million and +16.58%. 
  • One key conclusion from the above figures is that Agriculture Forestry and Fishing has expanded robustly over both 3Q 2015 and on the cumulative basis over the first nine months of 2015. Which is good news.

Industry sector contribution to GDP:
  • Overall Industry, including construction posted expansion of 16.08% y/y in 3Q 2015, which compares favourably to 5.15% growth in 2Q 2015 and to 4.23% growth y/y in 3Q 2014. Industry contribution to GDP growth over the first nine months of 2015 stood at EUR3.519 billion up 10.17% y/y. This is an improvement on the sector contribution over the first nine months of 2014 which stood at EUR2.25 billion (+6.95% y/y).
  • Within Industry sector, Transportable Goods Industries and Utilities sub-sector activity rose 17.83% y/y in 3Q 2015 - a pace of growth well ahead of 5.51% growth in 2Q 2015 and 3.70% in 3Q 2014. Over the first nine months of 2015, Transportable Goods Industries and Utilities sub-sector added EUR3.412 billion to our GDP (+10.97% y/y), which vastly outstrips EUR1.913 billion added by the sub-sector to the economy over the first nine months of 2014. 
  • So, our second core conclusion from these data is that Transportable Goods Industries and Utilities sub-sector - dominated strongly by MNCs - has been growing at unbelievably high rates of 10.97% y/y over the first 3 months of 2015. This is consistent with sector activity more than doubling in less than 7 years - a rate of expansion that consistent with a rapidly growing emerging economy, rather than with a mature economy. The Transportable Goods Industries and Utilities sub-sector was responsible for 54.3% of total growth in GDP over 3Q 2015 and 39% of total growth in Irish GDP over the period of 1Q-3Q 2015. Again, these are simply incredible figures, suggesting high degree of distortions from MNCs accounting practices and, potentially, exchange rates changes.
  • Building and Construction sub-sector of Industry showed much more modest rates of growth, with 3Q 2015 y/y expansion at 3.49%, better than 1.52% growth recorded in 2Q 2015, but less than 7.8% growth in 3Q 2014. Construction sector contributed 1.47% to the overall gains in Irish GDP over 3Q period. For the first nine months of 2015, cumulative y/y growth in Building and Construction sub-sector output amounted to just EUR108 million (+3.09% y/y) which is three times slower in terms of the rates of growth recorded in the sub-sector over the same period of 2014.
  • Our third core conclusion, therefore, is that traditional activity - proxied by Building and Construction sub-sector is growing in Ireland at rates probably closer to 3.5-4 percent - appreciable and positive, but not as massive as 6.8% growth recorded by the sectoral GDP (GDP at factor cost).

Distribution Transport Software and Communication (DTSC) sector activity:

  • Distribution Transport Software and Communication sector activity grew at 8.28% y/y in 3Q 2015, which is slower than 11.2% growth recorded in 2Q 2015, but faster than 7.52% growth penned in 3Q 2014. The sector contributed EUR1.05 billion to GDP expansion in 3Q 2015 which amounts to 35.1% of the total growth in the GDP at factor cost. On the 9 months cumulative basis, Distribution Transport Software and Communication sector activity grew by EUR3.38 billion (+9.7% y/y) in 2015 compared to 2014.
  • Once again, robust rates of growth in the sector are most likely reflective of the shifting MNCs strategies relating to tax optimisation, plus, potentially, the effects of exchange rates changes.

Public Administration and Defence sector contribution to GDP at factor cost:

  • Public Administration and Defence sector activity shrunk 0.97% y/y in 3Q 2015, which is shallower contraction that -4.37% decline y/y in 2Q 2015 and -2.58% drop y/y in 3Q 2014. On a 9 months basis, Public Administration and Defence sector activity reduced our GDP at factor cost by EUR167 million (-3.59%). 
  • 3Q 2015 contraction in sector activity was the shallowest in 5 quarters.

Other Services (including Rent) sector activity:

  • Other Services (including Rent) activity rose 3.84% y/y in 3Q 2015, having previously posted 4.35% expansion in 2Q 2015 and 5.23% growth in 3Q 2014. 
  • The sector contributed 22.9% of total growth in GDP at factor cost in 3Q 2015. 



As chart above shows, GDP at factor cost posted rates of growth above 2012 - 3Q 2015 average in every quarter since Q1 2014. Also, since 1Q 2015, rates of growth have been running above pre-crisis period average (Q4 2002-Q4 2007).

All of this is good, with positive dynamics in trends:


However, growth by sources remains unbalanced and most likely reflects skew in favour of MNCs-led sub-sectors:



Key conclusions are:

  • Irish sectoral growth shows strong aggregate figures, with GDP at factor cost expansion over the first nine months of 2015 amounting to EUR8.831 billion (+6.91%) year on year, which is stronger than growth recorded over the same period of 2014 (EUR5.852 billion or +4.80% y/y).
  • Sectoral contribution to growth show continued evolution of unbalanced economy skewed in favour of MNCs-led sectors, with Transportable Goods Industries and Utilities sector accounting for 38% of total growth recorded over the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014, followed by Distribution Transport Software and Communication (38% share of total growth) and Other Services (including Rent) (+24% share). (Note: these shares add up to more than actual GDP at factor cost due to the ways in which CSO computes GDP at factor cost totals)
  • All indications are that despite the MNCs bias in the figures, domestic activity did improve and is currently running at higher rates than in 2Q 2015 and over the first nine months of 2014.


Stay tuned for more analysis. 
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