Irish household debt falls as disposable income increases

The Irish saving ratio is below the EU average

Irish household debt falls as disposable income increases

Photocall file photo

New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show Irish disposable household income has increased by 3.9%.

While household debt was just under 1.5 times income in 2016 - continuing down from more than twice income in 2009.

But the annual figures also show day-to-day personal spending has increased as the saving ratio declined slightly to 6.6%.

The saving ratio is saving divided by income. Saving is defined by the CSO as "the money that people have left after day-to-day spending."

The Irish saving ratio is below the EU average of 10.3%.

People used saving mainly:

  • to pay off loans (household debt to income is down to 147% in 2016 from 212% in 2009)
    to increase deposits in the bank (up €3bn for households in the year)
    to buy new houses (investment up 16% in 2016)
Source: CSO

The statistics also show that both average pay and numbers in work increased.

The CSO says just 50 companies are responsible for 30% of Ireland's GDP.

It says large multi-nationals located here had gross profits of €78bn, paid €4bn to their employees and €3bn in tax in 2016.

Looking at these corporations separately, the CSO says they grew their gross profits by 8% since 2015.

Commenting on the results, senior CSO statistician Michael Connolly said: "This data shows that a lot of the volatility in the economy is due to multi-nationals located here.

"Once they are separated out we see more stable growth in the purely domestic economy."

The financial sector continued to expand in 2016, with €4.8 trillion in loans, bonds and other financial assets.

For scale, mortgages and other loans to Irish households all together are just 3% of that €4.8 trillion.

Read the full report here