Ireland had a large current account surplus on the Balance of Payments of €3,330m in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from the surplus of €2,895m in the same period of 2012. A surplus of €5,986m on merchandise trade was offset to a degree by a deficit of €2,655m on “invisibles” in the quarter.
For 2013 as a whole there was an overall record current account surplus of €10,851m (7.9% of GNP), up from the then record surplus of €7,250m (5.5% of GNP) in 2012.
The Balance of Payments has become a more closely watched indicator internationally since the euro crisis erupted. A deficit is a sign the economy is uncompetitive. Ireland and other “peripheral” economies were running deficits before the crisis, but Ireland has now returned to substantial surplus.
<b><i>The surplus is also important in relation to the economy’s very large foreign debts. These cannot be paid down unless a surplus is being run on the Balance of Payments.
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