SORTED AND THE CITY: Turning the Tide; BALANCE OF PAYMENTS DEFICIT HALVED

Article excerpt

IRELAND'S current account remained in the red last year, but the deficit was halved according to figures released yesterday.

The Balance of Payments report from the Central Statistics Office revealed that the current account recorded a deficit of EUR184m in 2002, down from EUR345m in 2001.

It would have been far worse but for a turnaround in the final three months of the year.

In that fourth quarter the current account recorded a surplus of EUR108m, compared with a deficit of EUR290m in the previous three months.

The deficit for the year resulted from the combined merchandise and current transfer surpluses of EUR38.3bn and EUR879m, which were more than offset by the services and income deficits of EUR14.4bn and EUR24.9bn.

The whole year trade surplus grew by 11.7 per cent to EUR38.3bn as exports rose slightly to EUR90.4bn, while imports dropped four per cent to EUR52.1bn.

Over the year, the surplus on trade in services remained in the red as exports of services rose slightly to EUR28.7bn. Imports increased to EUR43.1bn.

The fourth quarter surplus resulted from combined surpluses for merchandise of EUR8.9bn and current transfers of EUR738m.

This exceeded deficits on trade of services, including travel and tourism, communications and financial and insurance services, of EUR3. …