Ireland defies slowdown with an export-led boom

BRISK growth surprised analysts as Ireland’s economy picked up the pace in quarter two and had first quarter estimates revised upwards, the Central Statistics Office announced yesterday.

GDP increased by 1.6 per cent over the three months from April to July. First quarter growth was increased to 1.9 per cent, up from earlier estimates of 1.3 per cent – taking year-on-year growth to 2.7 per cent.

Exports led the growth spurt – net of imports, exports increased by 23.9 per cent over the year to June. Strong growth also came in industrial output – up 7.5 per cent in 12 months – and agriculture – up 6.9 per cent.

Building and construction slumped with output falling 16 per cent on the same quarter in 2010, and the public sector continued its readjustment, contributing 2.7 per cent less to GDP.

However, analysts fear the recovery will not last – particularly because of its export-driven nature.

“After remaining broadly stagnant for the past year or so, it appears that Ireland is beginning to recover,” said Capital Economics’ Ben May. “It is in a much better position than Greece and Portugal. But given the weakening global economy, its problems are far from over.”