Fall-off in export figures should put a dampener on Government expectations of early recovery

The country’s latest export figures should sound a warning note for those who believe we have turned the corner, according to rebel Galway East TD Colm Keaveney.

CSO figures showed that goods exports up to March had fallen for the fifth month in a row on a year on year basis – leaving them at their lowest levels since 2009.

And the former Labour Deputy said that this should be ‘a serious cause of concern’ given that the Government’s own growth expectations had already fallen so far short of target.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, goods exports over the first quarter of the year were down €2,173m, or 9.3% from 2012.

Industrial production and turnover figures, released by the CSO on May 3, show that both indexes had seen falls to leave them at their lowest for the last three years.

” The Government has targeted growth of 1.8% in GDP for this year and budgetary outturn is dependent on that level of growth being achieved. If the trend in exports for the first quarter is repeated in subsequent quarters, it is difficult to see how that figure can be achieved,” he said.

And he called on the Government to be ‘honest with the Irish people and to tell the truth about the condition of the economy’.

“Simply declaring, as many Ministers have done, that we are on the road to recovery, does not make it so. There have been many voices, including my own, that have tried to warn the Government that their current economic policies were likely to inflict damage on our medium term economic prospects.

“While in the short term the current economic policy has seen some success in reducing the deficit they were, in effect, based on a gamble that our exports would lift us out of our current difficulties: we are now seeing a significant fall in our goods exports.

“The domestic economy was effectively abandoned with the spending power of low and middle incomes being weakened by the various Government measures over the last numbers of years, not the least of which were the ones contained in the last budget.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.