Friday 19 January 2018

Brendan Keenan: Our trade surplus and huge savings make us different Irish-based

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

QUITE right: we need something to cheer us up. So how about this? Our trade surplus this year -- the difference between the goods we sell to foreigners and what we buy -- will be almost a quarter of national income. The best ever. And Irish families were €25bn better off last year than in 2008.

Is that good, or what? Well, it's interesting anyway. But what it really does is illuminate a side of the economy which we guys don't mention very often, but which has been the focus of much attention in other countries.

Over there, it is part of the great debate about whether governments should keep on borrowing, or cut their deficits before the national debt gets any bigger. Those who say borrow point to the fact that government deficits, in many cases, are merely offsetting the extra savings being done in the private sector.

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