Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Put on the green jersey: Ireland's bank bust broke all the records

THE recently published International Monetary Fund paper, showing that our banking crisis was the most expensive to be suffered by any developed country since the Great Depression, almost certainly understates the true extent of the bust.

The IMF calculates that, at almost €63bn so far, the cost to the Irish taxpayer of the banking crisis is the equivalent of over 40 per cent of GDP. In fact, the true situation is almost certainly even worse that that. If we use GNP, which excludes repatriated multinational profits and is a far more accurate indicator of the size of the Irish economy, the cost of the banking crisis rises to over 50 per cent.

In their 2009 book This Time is Different, American finance academics Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff analysed banking crises going back 200 years. According to their calculations, only the Argentinian banking crisis of the early 1980s, which cost that country the equivalent of up to 53 per cent of its economic output, comes close to matching the scale of our mess.

Sunday Indo Business

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