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Ireland Mar 2017

Published: Mar 10, 2017
  • Irish Exports reached a record high for 2016 with a value of €116.9bn.  However, exports to the UK have fallen by €496m to €13.3bn (4%) as a direct result of Brexit.  Imports from Britain dropped by €1.36bn (8%) in figures released by the Central Statistics Office.  Electrical exports saw the largest increase at 150%.  Exports to the US grew by 12% but were down 0.3% to the EU.  The 2016 figure was 4% higher than 2015.  Imports into Ireland fell 1% in 2016 YoY, to €69.9bn.  The Preliminary Trade Surplus stands at €47.3bn. 
  • January 2017 saw Ireland’s unemployment rate drop to 6.8%, its lowest in 9 years.  Long-term unemployed however saw barely any reduction in 2016.  Those who are long-term unemployed (i.e. out of work over one year) account for half of those out of work.  
  • The National Spatial Strategy plan – called Ireland 2040 - has been revealed by Minister Simon Coveney.  Minister Coveney warned that action is required to drive growth to Galway, Cork, Limerick & Waterford.  The report conveys that by 2040:
    • 49% of Economic activity will occur in Dublin. 
    • Employment is expected to rise by 25% to 2.5m
    • There will be 400,000 post-primary children
    • The population is expected to increase to 5.6m by 750,000
    • 11 counties around Dublin are expected to become commuter towns
  • Computer Science is to be added to the Leaving Certificate curriculum due to growing demand for graduates from this area.  Coding is also to be added to a new maths curriculum at primary school level.
  • 2016 saw foreign direct investment from China grow to €2.7bn vs just €9.3m in 2015.  Ireland is now the 5th largest market in Europe for investment from China. 
  • Davy’s has revised its projected growth for the Irish economy from 3.75 to 5% as consumer confidence has grown more than expected during the start of the new year.  Conall MacCoille of Davy’s also noted that manufacturing output grew by only 0.3% for 2016 due to Brexit. 
  • Manufacturing output for December 2016 fell 11% when compared to November, and 1.8% down on December 2015.  The falls came from the high-tech & pharmaceutical companies.  Merrion stockbrokers advised that productivity looks uncertain this year due to Brexit. 
  • The Government has been urged to get involved with the support and promotion of e-cars.  It is expected that by 2020, sales of electric vehicles will not surpass even 7,000 despite Government’s targets of 50,000 in 4 years.  Ireland is likely to face a fine of up to €6bn from the EC for not implementing a strategic plan to promote renewable transport.  Of the 218,000 new car registrations in 2016, only 619 were electric vehicles.  It is expected that at the Transport and Climate Summit, a new target of 20,000 by 2020 could well be achieved with Government support.
  • Car registrations for January were down 1.6% when compared with 2016 and is the only fall in January since 2013.  However, imported cars grew by 76.7% in January, mainly from the UK due to the fall in sterling.  65.1% of all new cars were diesel.  Goods vehicles however grew by 8.1% to 3016. 
  • Irish shoppers have purchased more goods online from the British high street due to the weak sterling with new figures showing there was a 4% increase in January spending.  The UK goods were likely to be shoes and clothes.  Overall, shopping online for 2016 has increased by 12.3%.  The figures were provided by Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index. 
  • Enterprise Ireland supplied subsidies to 220 start-up companies in 2016 averaging out at €140,000 each.  28% of these start-ups were female-led, and over 50% of the overall start-ups were outside Dublin.   Enterprise Ireland say that companies which have been financially assisted by them are now employing over 200,000 people.  
  • Monthly minimum wages for Ireland are the 2nd highest in the EU at €1,563 per month with Luxembourg being the highest at €1,999 per month.  Holland is in 3rd place at €1,552 per month.   Bulgaria is the lowest in the EU, and is amongst 10 eastern European countries whose wages are less than €500 per month.
  • The European Commission has upgraded its projection for Irish growth for 2017 to 3.4%.  Internal consumption will remain the driving force for the economy.   

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