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Recession 'has ended'

AN upbeat report from Goodbody Stockbrokers has stated that Ireland came out of recession before Christmas.

According to a new report, the recession ended in the fourth quarter of last year and growth returned to the economy for the first time in two years at the beginning of 2010.

As a result, the broker is upgrading its Irish growth forecasts and now expects GDP to be flat in 2010 compared to the previous forecast of a drop in GDP of 1pc.

GNP is expected to decline by 0.5pc, as the external sector leads the recovery for the Irish economy.

However, these annual average forecasts hide positive momentum through the year.

"We have been saying for some time that Ireland would benefit from a global upturn," said Dermot O'Leary, chief economist with Goodbody Stockbrokers.

"Our initial view was that we would see an export-led recovery around the middle of the year, but recent data has provided a pleasant surprise, showing that the expected export-led recovery began in the first quarter, much earlier than anticipated.

"The next question is what type of recovery will emerge," he continued.

"Given that it will be led by exports, it is unlikely to be employment-intensive, but the earlier stabilisation in consumer spending will help in this regard."