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Trade boosted Q1 GDP despite restrictions
Pic: RollingNews.ie

04 Jun 2021 / ireland Print

Trade boosted Q1 GDP despite restrictions

Official figures show contrasting fortunes for the domestic and multinational sectors of the Irish economy in the first quarter of this year, when the country was again under tight COVID-19 restrictions.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said this morning (4 June) that economic output measured by gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 7.8% during the three-month period, mainly due to higher exports and lower imports.

But modified domestic demand, a broad measure of underlying domestic activity that covers personal, Government and investment spending, dropped by 2.9%.

Spending hit

Personal spending on goods and services fell by more than 5%, while there were sharp drops in output in other domestic-focused economic sectors.

Construction output slumped by 23%, and there was a drop of almost 10% in the category covering distribution, transport, hotels, and restaurants.

Industrial output grew by 12%, however, while the technology sector recorded growth of 19%.

According to the CSO, areas of the economy dominated by multinational companies showed growth of almost 18% from the previous quarter, while those focused on the domestic economy declined by just over 2%.

Exports solid

The figures show that exports rose 5.8% compared with the final three months of 2020, but imports fell by almost 9%. This was the main factor behind the GDP growth.

Gross national product (GNP), which excludes profits made by multinational companies, fell by 1% in the quarter.

In April, the Department of Finance’s Stability Programme Update forecast that GDP would grow by 4.5% this year, with modified domestic demand rising by 2.5%, as COVID-19 restrictions eased.

Separate CSO figures show a surplus of €4.9 billion for trade in goods and services with the UK in the first quarter of this year.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland