Friday, December 20, 2013

20/12/2013: How Real Is that GDP and GNP Growth in Ireland? Q3 data

In previous two posts, I covered top-level data on GDP and GNP growth in q3 2013 (here: and expenditure components of GDP and GNP (here:

Now, let's take a look at 3-quarters aggregates. The reason why looking at 3 quarters aggregates makes sense is that q/q changes are volatile, while y/y changes are only reflective of quarter-wide movements in activity. 9-months January-September 2013 data comparatives to a year ago provide a better visibility as to what has been happening in the economy so far during this year.

All analysis below is based on seasonally unadjusted data in constant prices terms.

In 3 quarters (Q1-Q3) of 2013, Personal Consumption of Goods and Services fell 1.22% when compared to the same period in 2012. The series are down 1.93% on Q1-Q3 2011. In level terms, personal consumption is down EUR734 million for the first 9 months of 2013 compared to a year ago.

Expenditure by Central and Local Government on Current Goods and Services was down 0.96% for the 9 months January-September 2013 compared to the same period of 2012 and is down 5.03% on same period in 2011. In level terms, Government spending on goods and services is down EUR178 million in Q1-Q3 2013 compared to a year ago.

Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation for the nine months January-September 2013 has fallen 2.90% compared to the same period a year ago (in level terms, -EUR381 million). Compared to the same period in 2011, gross fixed capital formation is now down 4.42%. When we talk about 'big increases' in investment, keep in mind, Q1-Q3 cumulated Gross Fixed Capital Formation was down 55% on the same period for 2007.

Exports of Goods and Services for the nine months January-September 2013 were down 0.8% on the same period a year ago (-EUR1,013 million), but up 0.84% on the same period of 2011. This hardly shows 'robust growth' in exports. Exports composition has shifted once again in favour of Services. Goods exports shrunk over the last nine months by 4.51% compared to same period 2012 (-EUR2,809 million) and are now down 8.29% on Q1-Q3 cumulative for 2011 and down 2.47% on Q1-Q3 2007 too. Meanwhile, exports of services rose 2.77% in Q1-Q3 2013 compared to a year ago (+EUR1,796 million) as per 'Google-tax effect' and these are now up 10.69% on Q1-Q3 2011 and up 21.29% on Q1-Q3 2007. At the rate we are going, pretty soon Barrow Street GDP will exceed that of South Korea, which will make Poly's Pizza more economically important than Geneva.

Sarcasm aside, Imports of goods and services (another driver - via their collapse - of positive GDP and GNP news) are down 0.93% y/y in Q1-Q3 2013 (-EUR908 million) and are down 1.35% on same period 2011. Compared to Q1-Q3 2007 imports of goods and services are down massive 9.49% - the effect that contributes significantly to upside of GDP. Goods imports alone are now down 33.3% on Q1-Q3 2007 and these were down 4% (-EUR1,419 million) on Q1-Q3 cumulative for 2012.

So, let's add few things. In 9 months January-September 2013, relative to the same period of 2012:
1) Personal consumption fell EUR734 million
2) Government consumption fell EUR178 million
3) Domestic Gross Fixed Capital formation fell EUR381 million
4) Exports of Goods and Services fell EUR1,013 million
5) Imports of Goods and Services fell EUR908 million, and
6) Stocks of goods rose EUR503 million.

(1)-(4) subtracted from GDP growth, (5) and (6) added to GDP growth. Which means that the only two positive contributions to growth in our GDP came from: imports decline and stocks of goods held by businesses rise. This is hardly a good news, as both sources of growth are really not about increased/improved activity in the economy.

Thus, GDP at constant market prices fell over the period of Q1-Q3 2013 compared to Q1-Q3 2012 by 0.58% (or EUR706 million). Notice the word 'fell' - whilst there were rises in GDP in Q3 and Q2 in q/q basis, overall so far, 2013 total output in the economy is below that registered for the same period in 2012.

GDP is also down 0.04% on same period 2011 and is down 6.82% on the same period in 2007.

Let me know if you are spotting any positive growth in the above.

Next, the difference between GDP and GNP is formed by the Net Factor Income from the Rest of the World. This also fell in Q1-Q3 2013 compared to the same period of 2012 - down 14.37% y/y (or -EUR3,378 million), which 'contributed' a positive swing to the GNP in the amount of almost EUR3.38 billion. The reason for this? Well, growth-generating fall-off in activity in the phrama sector meant that MNCs were booking lower profits via Ireland and this, allegedly, has a positive effect on our economy… err… on our GNP.

GNP, propelled by stocks accounting tricks, hocus-pocus of transfer pricing and continued decline in imports rose 2.69% in Q1-Q3 2013 compared to Q1-Q3 2012 (up EUR2,670 million = decline in GDP of -EUR706million plus decline in factor payments of +EUR3,378 million). Seriously, folks, this is beginning to look like a joke!

Based on the same physics of transfer pricing miracles, Irish GNP is now 4.16% ahead of Q1-Q3 reading for 2011.

Recap: On expenditure side of the National Accounts, growth in 2013 is not exactly real (for GNP) and not present (for GDP).

Analysis of Total Domestic Demand (aka domestic economy) is to follow. Before then, charts to illustrate the above:

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