Irish Economy Forecast To Grow By 5% In 2007

Rate will slow to 4% in 2008 due to fall in housing market.

Ireland's economy will grow by about 5% this year, before slowing down to 4% in 2008, according to the annual report by the country's central bank on July 11. "This level of growth remains favorable by comparison with other economies with broadly similar levels of incomes," said bank chief John Hurley, reporting the growth rate in GDP terms.

Hurley said data for the early part of this year suggests that growth was probably in excess of these levels but more moderate consumer spending and a fall in house building would act to reduce growth later this year and next year.

According to official figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Ireland's economy grew by 5.7% last year in GDP terms and by 6.5% in gross national product (GNP) terms. Gross National Product is the more favored Irish growth measurement. It is regarded as a more accurate barometer of the country's economic performance since it strips out substantial profits repatriated by foreign investors.

The bank expects the EU Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), or inflation, to ease from an average of 2.75% this year to about 2.25% next year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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