Ireland: the comeback kid does it again

“There is economic life after death,” says The Economist. Ireland has made a roaring comeback since it almost went bankrupt in 2008/2009, when its burst housing bubble floored the banking sector. In those two years, GDP shrank by 11%. In the third quarter alone, it grew by 1.4%, pushing the annual pace up to 7%. In 2014, it managed to expand by 5%.

What went right? Ireland’s GDP is very dependent on exports, so the weak euro, a result of the European Central Bank’s money printing, has helped. Ireland also kept its 12.5% corporation tax rate, a low figure that’s encouraged multinationals to secure a presence there. America and Britain are two of Ireland’s biggest trading partners, both of which been outperforming the rest of the developed world in recent years. And it’s relatively insulated from  the emerging-market slowdown, says The Economist.

The domestic economy has slowly revived too, with lower energy prices boosting consumer spending. Rapid growth is shrinking the public debt pile, which peaked at 120% in 2013 (almost five times its 2007 level). More than a fifth of it will have vanished by the end of this year. Growth may cool from today’s “blistering pace”, says Richard Barley in The Wall Street Journal, but Ireland will remain the “eurozone’s comeback kid”.

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