Government deficit falls to 5.6 per cent of GDP

CSO says general Government net debt stood at €160.9 billion in first quarter of 2014

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Ireland’s government deficit amounted to €2.4 billion in the first quarter of this year, representing 5.6 per cent of GDP.  Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Ireland’s government deficit amounted to €2.4 billion in the first quarter of this year, representing 5.6 per cent of GDP. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 12:54

PAMELA NEWENHAM

Ireland’s Government deficit fell to 5.6 per cent of gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2014, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Official figures from the CSO put the deficit - the difference between what the Government takes in and what it spends – at €2.4 billion in the three-month period, representing 5.6 per cent of GDP.

This compares to a deficit of €3.3 billion, or 7.9 per cent of GDP, in the first quarter of 2013, and a deficit of €2 billion or 4.5 per cent of GDP in the final quarter of 2013.

Under the terms of the bailout, the Government has agreed to bring down the deficit to 5.1 per cent of GDP this year and to 3 per cent in 2015.

The latest figures from the CSO show government revenue for the first quarter at €14.59 billion was higher by €736 million than the same period last year. This is mainly due to increased revenue from taxes and social contributions.

Government expenditure decreased by €158 million compared to Q1 2013, standing at €17.03 billion in the first quarter of this year.

Government net worth fell to -€88.3 billion from -€88.5 billion at the end of the previous quarter.

The general Government gross debt was 122.2 per cent of annualised GDP, or €215.0 billion by the end of March, compared to a level of €215.5 billion or 123.3 per cent of GDP in December 2013.

Government net debt amounted to €160.9 billion in the first quarter, or 91.4 per cent of GDP, which was down marginally from €160.8 billion in Q4 2013.