Irish economy to grow 0.9% this year: think-tank

24th February 2012, Comments 0 comments

Ireland's economy grew 0.9 percent last year and will expand by the same amount in 2012 provided the eurozone can "muddle-through" the debt crisis, the nation's top think-tank forecast Friday.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) estimated that the debt-ridden eurozone member nation returned to "modest growth" in 2011 with gross domestic product (GDP) increasing by 0.9 percent.

"We expect a similar rate of growth in 2012 -- 0.9 percent," it said in its latest quarterly report. The forecast for this year is unchanged compared with the think-tank's previous estimate in November.

ESRI also forecast that the Irish economy would grow by 2.3 in 2013.

"There is still uncertainty regarding the outlook for the eurozone," the report said.

"Our forecasts for Ireland are based on a European outlook where the eurozone will continue to muddle-through the crisis, with current levels of uncertainty about debt sustainability persisting during the first half of 2012."

The European Union on Thursday said that the eurozone as a whole would suffer a mild recession this year, pulling down most neighbouring non-euro economies in its wake.

The European Commission said the eurozone economy would likely shrink 0.3 percent in 2012, rather than grow by 0.5 percent as expected previously.

Ireland is attempting to restore its own economy following an 85-billion-euro ($112 billion) EU-International Monetary Fund rescue package in November 2010 when massive debts left it on the brink of collapse.

© 2012 AFP

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