Monday 5 December 2016

Look closer: Our exports appear less than stellar

Published 12/04/2015 | 02:30

DOCKLANDS: It’s thanks to the broader pharma sector alone that goods exports have grown at all in the 21st century
DOCKLANDS: It’s thanks to the broader pharma sector alone that goods exports have grown at all in the 21st century

Among the most important differences between Ireland and the other countries that had to be bailed out was this economy's unusually large export sector.

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Among other things, it meant that even a modest increase in exports had a much bigger impact on GDP compared with the other troubled peripherals. This was crucial in offsetting the collapse in the domestic economy and providing an engine for growth.

That Ireland was "the fastest growing economy in the EU" last year was thanks largely to a surge in exports. But as much of that export growth was related to a statistical anomaly, it raises important questions about how headline export figures reflect real economic activity in the economy - and, ultimately, the degree to which they improve national well-being.

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