Belfast Telegraph

Weak global economy blamed as Republic slips back into recession

COLM KELPIE

THE Republic's economy shrank fractionally in the first three months of the year, official figures show -- pushing the country technically into recession.

Gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 0.6%, according to preliminary estimates from the Central Statistics Office.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing grew 4.8% in the first quarter, while industry, including building and construction, was up 2.1%.

But personal spending dropped 3% between the last three months of last year and the first three months of 2013.

Capital spending declined 7.4% while net exports also fell, by about €1bn (£0.85bn) over the same period.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance said the numbers are disappointing.

He said analysis showed GDP had been falling in both a quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year basis.

The Government blamed the impact of a weak global economy for impacting on demand for Irish exports but also suggested the multi-billion pharmaceutical sector was being affected by what it called the "patent cliff" for medicines.

It also said a series of one-off factors were playing their part in the poor returns such as a new registration system for car sales spreading figures more evenly over a year.

Despite the bad report, the spokesman insisted all fiscal targets continue to be met.

Ireland's Budget 2014 takes place in October and will include revised forecasts which will be independently assessed.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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