April 16, 2018 / 10:20 AM / 10 days ago

Irish budget deficit on target at 0.3 percent of GDP

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s budget deficit fell to 0.3 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2017, hitting the government’s target as the country came close to balancing its books for the first time in a decade, data showed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Cranes are seen along the skyline in the Irish Financial Services Centre in Dublin, Ireland April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Ireland’s deficit, which ballooned into double figures in 2009, leading to a three-year international bailout, narrowed from 0.7 percent at the end of 2016.

GDP growth of 7.8 percent last year pushed the debt-to-GDP ratio down to 68 percent, however statistical distortions related to Ireland’s large multinational sector have reduced the usefulness of the standard measure.

Irish debt remains among the highest in the euro zone compared to general government revenue.

Reporting by Graham Fahy, editing by Padraic Halpin

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