Friday, April 24, 2009

Daily Economics 24/04/09: Euro area forecast and Irish Travel Data

Irish Travel Stats are now available on CSO website through Q4 2008. Charts below illustrate the main trends:

First, domestic travel trends. All categories of domestic travel are in expenditure intensity (Euro spent per night) except for the holidays trips. This represents a departure from the generally upward trend prior to 2008.
However, in line with a small increase in the numbers of trips taken domestically, the overall spending remains relatively well underpinned.
International travel by the residents of Ireland has held up relatively flat or increased for all broader destinations. Length of stay also held up well.
Length of stay abroad has declined (in line with recent trends) for holidaymakers, and has risen - against the previous trend - for those visiting friends/relatives and other categories. There has been a significant increase in the length of stay for business travellers.

The decline in the overall overseas spending by Irish residents travelling abroad has been significant and driven largely by the decline in the expenditure of Irish holidaymakers abroad. Business travellers visiting abroad have reduced their spending only marginally, while other categories of Irish residents travelling overseas have seen a small (insignificant) increase in overall expenditure.
Lastly, considering Irish travellers spending by their destination country, EU15 countries clearly stand out as the dominant spending destination for Irish visitors within the broader EU25 or indeed EU27. Despite or strong connections with Poland and a host of other ECE countries, there is virtually no evidence of Irish residents spending much of their cash in those countries. North America follows EU15 as the most favourite destination for our Euros, with Asia& Middle East managing to outperform Australia & New Zealand in competing for our cash.

Eurocoin results are in for April so the chart below updates my forecast for Euroarea leading indicators and for GDP growth for the Euro area for May:
As you can see, Eurocoin improvements, predicted in March, have indeed taken place, which in my view signals that May is likely to see this leading indicator for growth in the Eurozone climbing higher. However, my longer view is that leading indicators are going to suffer a seasonally adjusted fall-off at the end of Q2, retesting the lows of -0.6. Thus, my forecast for Q2 2009 growth stands at -1.1%.

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