'Economy will grow by 4.5pc this year' - Michael Noonan
FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has estimated the economy will grow 4.5pc this year.
And he confirmed that there will be no need for any additional tax hikes or spending cuts in next month’s Budget to meet the Government’s targets.
It comes as the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the economy grew by 1.5pc between April and June.
And when you compare the April and June period of this year, the second quarter, with the same period in 2013, the economy expanded 7.7pc.
“My people advising me tell me that it’s a trend that will continue. We’ll be marking up the growth figures for 2014 and 2015,” Mr Noonan said.
“It’ll settle around 4.5pc in GDP for 2014. We haven’t run the numbers yet, but it will be somewhere around there. Bit less for next year.”
Mr Noonan had recently said that the economy this year was set to grow by 3pc.
He also said this morning that the Budget deficit is now estimated to come in around 3.5pc of GDP this year. That compares with an estimate in April of 4.8pc.
“The figures are due to the policies pursued by Government for the last three years and the sacrifices made by the Irish people. It shows that sticking to the policies is now bearing fruit,” Mr Noonan said.
Both domestic demand and net exports are contributing to growth, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said.
"This is something we haven't seen for quite a long time," the CSO's Michael Connolly said. Preliminary estimates have GDP growing 1.5pc in the second quarter compared with the period between January and March. Year-on-year GDP growth was 7.7pc.
"This is the strongest growth rate recorded since the early 2000’s and shows that the strong and stable recovery in the Irish economy is well under way and is starting to be felt across all sectors of the economy,” Mr Noonan added.
"Most encouragingly the figures are showing the domestic economy growing with consumer spending up 1.8pc year on year."
Mr Noonan said the Government hopes to have steady annual growth of about 3pc over the coming years.
“Obviously at the start when you’re in a catch-up phase, you’ll get very high growth figures in the early stages. But as it settles, I would hope to have growth of around 3pc for the next five years and God willing for the next 10 years if we can avoid the boom and bust model,” he said.
Merrion stockbrokers estimated that the economy could grow by 5pc this year.
“Taking all the factors into consideration, these latest numbers are gangbusters,” said Alan McQuaid.
“GDP growth for the year as a whole is now likely to be 5pc or higher in real terms, easing the pressure on the fiscal front for Budget 2015.
“Although the Eurozone as a whole is struggling, Ireland has benefited from its close trading ties with the US and UK, two of the strongest performers on the world stage this year.”
Business lobby group IBEC said the figures reinforce the scope for tax cuts in the Budget.
"A broad based recovery has firmly taken hold. The economy is re-balancing with domestic demand and net exports contributing to stronger growth. Investment is up 18.5pc and personal consumption is up 1.8%, but more can be done to improve this by reducing income and consumer taxes. This would support job creation and ultimately lead to a more stable economy,” said IBEC’s Fergal O’Brien.
"While there are still challenges in the public finances and we need to do more to put people back to work, these numbers indicate that GDP growth will potentially be above 5pc this year, with GDP up 5.7pc on the first half of 2013.”
Chambers Ireland said the figures show the economy is in recovery mode.
“However, we must ensure that this economic growth is sustainable into the future. The lessons from the past must be learned, and our economy’s recovery cannot be jeopardised by short-termism or any loss of competitiveness through increasing costs to employers,” said Mark O’Mahoney, Director of Policy and Communications.
And Davy Stockbrokers has forecast growth of over 4pc this year on the back of the new figures.