State external asset position worsens


THE GAP between Ireland’s foreign assets and liabilities – known as the net external asset position – was the largest on record last year, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Excluding the International Financial Services Centre, the gap was negative to the tune of €182.7 billion, a rise of almost €50 billion on the end of 2010.

Whether measured in cash terms or as a proportion of gross domestic product, this was the largest imbalance on record.

The imbalance stood at 120 per cent of GDP, a very large figure by international standards.

All figures cited here exclude the assets and liabilities of the IFSC.

The value of Ireland’s foreign assets fell last year for the first time since figures were collated in 1998.

Irish-owned assets abroad were valued at €494.6 billion at the end of 2011, a decline of 13 per cent on a year earlier.

Foreign liabilities also declined for the first time, but the fall was much smaller. At the end of last year Irish residents’ foreign liabilities were €677.3 billion, down just under 4 per cent on a year earlier.