Ireland’s economic expansion slowed slightly in the first three months of the year as consumption decreased with the start of the coronavirus pandemic-triggered lockdown towards the end of the quarter, preliminary figures from the Central Statistics Office showed on Friday.
Gross domestic product grew 1.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019, when the economy expanded 1.7 percent. The latest GDP outcome was the worst since the second quarter of 2019, when the economy shrank 0.6 percent. The Gross National Product increased just 0.1 percent in the first three months of the year after a 1.9 percent increase in the previous quarter. Personal spending decreased by 4.7 percent in the first quarter as demand weakened due to the lockdown imposed from mid-March to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consumption was stagnant in the previous quarter.
The weakness in consumption was partly offset by a 0.2 percent increase in exports, while imports fell 1.5 percent. Capital Investment was significant at EUR 51.4 billion in the quarter, driven by relocations of Intellectual Property Products (IPP) to Ireland, the statistical office noted. However, the impact of IPP imported in the quarter was neutral on GDP as the increase in the capital stock was offset by the corresponding imports recorded for these products, the agency added.
On a year-on-year basis, GDP grew 4.6 percent after a 6.2 percent increase in the previous quarter.
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