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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Government Finance Statistics Quarterly Results

Quarter 4 2018

 General Government Finances
  Surplus/Deficit Gross Debt Net Debt
 % quarterly % annualised% annualised
 €bnGDP€bn GDP€bn GDP
2017 Q1-1.4-2.0208.675.8178.064.7
2017 Q2-0.2-0.2211.375.5173.862.1
2017 Q3-1.8-2.3211.072.9174.360.2
2017 Q42.53.1201.468.5175.859.8
2018 Q1-1.8-2.3210.369.3177.558.5
2018 Q2-0.7-0.9215.169.2177.056.9
2018 Q3-1.5-1.9216.268.7177.756.5
2018 Q44.04.9206.264.8177.655.8

Government surplus of €4.0 billion in quarter 4 2018

Figure 1 General Government Deficit
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Government surplus of €4.0 billion in Q4 2018

The government recorded a surplus of €4.0 billion (5.8% of quarterly GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2018 (Table 1).

In quarter 4 2018, government revenue amounted to €25.9 billion, up from €22.8 billion in quarter 4 2017. This increase was mainly due to increases in Taxes and Social contributions (+13.3%).

Government expenditure for quarter 4 2018 was €21.9 billion, an increase of €1.5 billion (+7.5%) on the same period last year. This increase is mainly due to expenditure in Compensation of employees/Pay (+10.0%), Use of goods and services (+3.4%) and Social benefits (+4.7%). (Tables 1 and 4).

Government Gross Debt at 64.8% of GDP at end Q4 2018

General Government Gross Debt (GG Debt) was €206.2 billion (64.8% of GDP) at the end of quarter 4 2018 (Table 7). This compares with a debt level of 68.7% of GDP at the end of quarter 3. The reduction in the debt ratio is due mainly to the redemption of short-term and long-term securities of €3.1 billion and €6.4 billion respectively, coupled with loan repayments of €0.4 billion.

At the end of December 2018, General Government Net Debt was €177.6 billion (55.8% of GDP). While the level of net debt remained relatively flat in the quarter, Maastricht debt fell by €10.0 billion due to the repayment of borrowings that was offset by an €8.6 billion reduction in Currency and deposit assets which were used to finance this debt repayment. The market value of Equity and Investment Fund Shares fell by €1.7 billion during quarter 4. The decline in the value of the investment portfolio was caused mainly by stock market movements which impacted the State’s shares in Irish banks (Tables 2, 5 and 6).

Government accounts are compiled in the EU according to the European System of National Accounts 2010 (ESA2010) framework.

This release contains quarterly Government Finance Statistics (GFS) and are aligned with the April 2019 GFS annual release also published today, 15 April 2019. Revisions to previously published quarters reflect updated data sources or changes in methodology - see Background notes.

The calculation methods for quarterly GFS are similar to those used in deriving the annual GFS. As some of the available sources are of lesser reliability than those used for the annual GFS, the quarterly estimates are subject to a greater margin of error than the annual figures.

GFS are benchmarked to the most recent EDP notification (April 2019). Consequently, they may not always be fully aligned with the National Income and Expenditure and related publications such as the Institutional Sector Accounts and the Quarterly National Accounts.

A full description of the concepts and definitions used in the production of these statistics is provided in the Background notes.