Dáil Éireann - Volume 387 - 23 February, 1989

Written Answers. - Trade Statistics.

38. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance, for the six months ended 31 December 1982 (a) the average bank interest rate (b) the average inflation rate and (c) the average monthly trade surplus/deficit; and if he will give similar information in respect of (a), (b) and (c) for the period ended 31 December 1986; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Finance (Mr. Reynolds): The information requested is set out on the table below:

Bank interest rates¹

Inflation (CPI)²

Trade Balance³ £ million

Six months ended 31 December 1982

16.2%

14.7%

-51.1

Six months ended 31 December 1986

11.4%

3.2%

79.7

Notes:

1 The interest rate shown is the average over the periods for the Associated Banks' prime lending rate, the rate charged to the most creditworthy customers.

2 The inflation rate shown is the average year-on-year increase in the Consumer Price Index in the quarters ended mid-August and mid-November of each year.

3 A negative sign indicates a deficit.

The significant improvement in inflation between the two periods reflects international price developments following on the energy price changes. While import prices rose by over 27 per cent in the two year period 1981-82, they actually fell by 11 per cent in 1986, following the fall of 45 per cent in fuel import prices in that year.

The fall in the interest rate in the period is a reflection of the drop in the domestic inflation rate and the reduction in interest rates in the main EMS countries.