By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – Ireland’s economy powered ahead in the fourth quarter of last year with gross domestic product (GDP) rising by a record 12.1 percent, according to the last Central Statistics Office figures.
"It is the highest GDP growth ever as far as we know. Our figures only go back to the 1960s and it surpasses anything we have on record," a CSO spokesman said.
The CSO expect the final quarter of last year was the peak of the "Celtic Tiger" economic growth of recent years.
"It is slowing down now. Certainly, personal consumption and building activity are slowing down in 2001."
The CSO say GDP at constant 1995 prices rose by more than 10 percent in each quarter of last year, when compared with the corresponding quarter in 1999.
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The figures also show that the rate of growth in consumer spending slowed in the second half of 2000 to 8 percent compared to 12 percent in the first six months.
Capital investment growth also declined to within the range of 2 to 4 percent in the last two quarters of 2000 compared to 10 to 12 percent in the earlier quarters.
However, the manufacturing industry sector maintained strong growth throughout 2000 with a year on year growth rate of 17 percent in the fourth quarter.