Ireland's Economy Surges as Exports Gain With Brexit Looming

(Bloomberg) -- Ireland’s economy surged in the third quarter, boosted by rising exports and falling imports.

Gross domestic product rose 10.5 percent from the year-earlier period, the country’s statistics office said in Dublin on Friday. Exports rose 8.7 percent, while imports dropped 13 percent. The economy grew 4.2 percent from the previous quarter.

The figures suggest the nation’s economy is in resilient shape as Brexit looms -- Ireland is the most vulnerable economy to the departure of the U.K. from the bloc. As well as exports, consumer spending continued to grow, rising 2.7 percent from the year-earlier period.

To an extent, the numbers may be skewed by technical factors. Last year, imports were boosted by U.S. companies moving intellectual property to Dublin and Irish companies buying aircraft.

“We are talking about a fairly rosy picture, some areas hot, some cooler -- it’s not the runaway boom we saw in the past,” said Austin Hughes, economist at KBC Groep NV in Dublin, said. “The headline numbers are increasingly irrelevant, the underlying growth rate is probably closer to 4 percent. There’s a real economic story buried in there somewhere.”

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