Dublin has climbed to 2nd place in the 2018 fDi Top 25 European Cities and Regions of the Future, the 13th issue of the Dublin Economic Monitor reveals, knocking Paris into 3rd and leaving it behind only London. This, along with other key economic indicators, including the Mastercard Dublin SpendingPulse, shows that the overall performance of the Dublin economy remains relatively robust. It has been found however, that certain aspects of the economy, such as housing and residential rents, continue to hinder the Capital’s full growth potential.

Key Highlights:  

  • Housing completions in Dublin fell to 388 in January 2018 (seasonally adjusted), from 755 recorded in December 2017 (close to a 50 decline year on year (YoY)). The data highlights continued volatility and uncertainty in the housing market. Click for Chart
  •  Residential rents in Dublin increase to over €1,500 a month (up 5.2% YoY) following 17 quarters of growth in excess of 5.5%, and continue to exert pressure on the Greater Dublin Area in Q4 2017 where a YoY growth rate of 7.5% was recorded. Click for Chart
  • Residential property prices register YoY growth in excess of 12% for the first time since May 2015. At 103 index points, the series it now at its highest level since the end of 2008. Click for Chart
  • There were an additional 10,500 employees added to the workforce in the quarter with 671,000 people now employed in Dublin. Click for Chart
  •  Dublin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4% in Q4 2017. Click for Chart
  • The Global Talent Competitiveness Index ranks Dublin 7th for its business and labour landscape, market openness, education and lifestyle. Click for Chart
  • The Dublin IHS MARKIT Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) remains well above the 50.0 no-change mark (58.0) in Q1 2018. The quarter recorded the fastest rise in new business since Q2 2015 with new work orders increasing continuously on a quarterly basis since the end of 2012. The rate of job creation at Dublin firms accelerated during Q1 with Private sector employment now increasing in each of the past 22 quarters. Click for Chart
  • Public transport trips rose by close to 9% YoY in Q4 2017 with 54.6 million trips (seasonally adjusted) undertaken in the quarter (representing an increase of 4.5 million trips). Click for Chart
  • Throughput at Dublin Port in Q1 2018 reached a new high with over 9.3 million tonnes (seasonally adjusted) handled in the first three months of the year. Click for Chart

The Mastercard Dublin SpendingPulse shows that overall growth in consumer expenditure in the first three months of 2018 remains robust (rising by +4.8% YoY) while the US, Chinese and French markets have contributed strongly to growth in total spending by overseas tourists (overall up by 9% YoY).  
This issue of the Economic Monitor contains a special report by Keelin Fagan, Fáilte Ireland, on “Dublin’s Tourism Development Update – Dublin’s Outdoors“. There is also an article from Frank Nevin of South Dublin County Council on “Transforming the Innovation Landscape for South Dublin.”
Speaking at the publication of this issue, Ciara Morley, Executive at EY-DKM Economic Advisory said: “Dublin achieved its highest level of employment on record in the first quarter of 2018 reflecting its continued strong growth. This emerging trend is also reflected in many of the other indicators that we track in the Dublin Economic Monitor. There is, however, persistent upward pressure on house prices and rents which currently present as a risk to the city’s competitiveness. Looking ahead, continued growth is expected in 2018, though attracting talent at a suitable price point will act as a strengthening headwind unless property supply can accelerate.”
Austin Hughes, Chief Economist at KBC Bank Ireland said: “A more positive view of economic prospects was the main driver of a modest improvement in Dublin consumer sentiment in early 2018. The mood of consumers in the capital at present might be described as one of guarded optimism. There is a clear sense that conditions are improving but a still uncertain outlook and limited gains in household finances mean Dublin consumers are cautious rather than carefree.”
Michael McNamara, Global Head of SpendingPulse, MasterCard said:  "It is unusual when you can say that you have nothing but good news to report!  Both Ireland and Dublin saw increases in retail sales growth in Q1 2018.  Dublin’s 4.8% growth rate was impressive with virtually all areas growing including Entertainment turning from a negative growth in Q4 2017 to positive growth in Q1 2018.  The eCommerce channel had a mild deceleration in year-over-year growth, though still showed impressive growth in the mid-teens, in both Dublin and across Ireland.”
Andrew Harker, Associate Director at IHS Markit said: “The Dublin economy started 2018 in positive fashion, maintaining a strong rate of output growth. The rise was slightly weaker than at the end of 2017 as a result of a slowdown in the pace of expansion in manufacturing production, but given this can at least partly be attributed to disruption caused by Storm Emma in March, a rebound here is likely in Q2. Indeed, demand conditions show no signs of cooling off, with the latest rise in new business the strongest since mid-2015. The rate of job creation also picked up at the start of the year as companies responded to trends in new orders.
Outside Dublin the picture across the Rest of Ireland was also rosy amid broad-based improvements in client demand not only in Ireland, but across much of Europe at present. Given this favourable back-drop, the stage is set for another successful year for the Dublin economy.”
The Dublin Economic Monitor is a joint initiative of the four Dublin local authorities, drafter by EY-DKM Economic Advisory, which focuses on the Dublin region, and tracks key economic indicators including the Mastercard Dublin SpendingPulse.  The Monitor captures data from the height of the boom to the economic crash and the subsequent recovery.
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