Thursday, June 23, 2011

Irish economy: booming or doomed?

Ireland's Central Statistics Office just released figures about the state of the economy. First the annual results for 2010 show that GDP fell by 0.4% in constant prices while GNP rose by 0.3% in constant prices last year. This is slightly better than had been previously believed, since earlier data had suggested a decline of GNP of 2.1%.

Secondly the quarterly national accounts show a decline of GNP of 4.3% in the first quarter of 2011, and growth of GDP by 1.3% The official statistics add that exports grew strongly while domestic demand declined.

So here are mixed bits of positive and negative news about Ireland's economy. What interests me is the response of different media; below are news stories arranged by the tone of the headline.

Bloomberg - 'Irish Economy Grows Fastest in Three Years'

AFP - 'Irish economy officially returns to growth' - 'Irish economy grew 1.3pc in first three months of 2011'

RTT News - 'Irish Economy Expands In Q1'

Finfacts - 'Irish Economy 2011: GDP up 1.3% in Q1 on exports boost; GNP down 4.3% in quarter as domestic demand dipped'

Wall Street Journal - 'DATA SNAP: Irish 1Q GDP Up 1.3% On Quarter; Down 1.4% In 4Q'

Irish Independent - 'Consumers still not spending but exports continue to shine'

Irish Examiner - 'Exports performance overshadowed by domestic slump'

RTE - 'GDP grew by 1.3% in Q1, but GNP down'

Belfast Telegraph - 'Irish economy suffers big slump'

Irish Times - 'Domestic demand remains weak'

By just glancing at headlines one gets completely different impressions of Ireland's economic situation, depending on the source. A reader that relies on just one media source for news could walk away with quite a distorted understanding of economic reality.

Lots more news media have covered this story by now. From Google News here are a few more sample headlines:

Most stories have positive headlines in these examples - which is nice! Yet others are restrained or even, like the Belfast Telegraph's 'big slump', deeply negative. Perhaps this shows the value of reading widely and not relying on one source of news.

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