Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ireland’s capital stock continues to expand

The CSO have provided the 2016 update of Ireland’s fixed capital stock.  This has been affected in recent years by aircraft for leasing and intangible assets.  This continued in recent year.

Here is Ireland’s gross capital stock in 2015 prices.

Gross Capital Stock Constant Prices

This measure gives an estimate of the amount of fixed capital held at the end of each year.  Gross depreciation is not taken into account and the amounts reflect the value of the fixed assets (in 2015 prices) as if they were new.  Changes are the result of additions to the capital stock and obsolescence of existing fixed assets.

There have been a number of data suppressions in recent years which means that we only have a combined category for aircraft and R&D intangible assets.  There were increases in all categories of fixed assets though the largest contribution to the overall increase came from aircraft and IP.

Unsurprisingly it is estimated that there was a very small increase in the stock of dwellings, rising by just one per cent in 2016.  Other buildings and structures rose at an appreciably faster pace at 4.5 per cent.

Next is a net measure of the capital stock which accounts for depreciation.  This better reflects the value in use of fixed assets rather than their replacement cost.  Again we will consider this in constant prices to look at changes in the quantity of assets from year to year.

Net Capital Stock Constant Prices

We know there were large depreciation charges for aircraft and IP over the past few years (it is was it messing up the GNP and GNI figures) but we can see that even accounting for depreciation the stock of these assets increased by almost five per cent in 2016.  They are still arriving faster than the existing stock is depreciating.  Again on dwellings it is not surprising to not that our stock of dwellings barely changed in 2016, with a rise of just 0.5 per cent.

And finally, here are the change in the depreciation on these assets (again in constant prices)

Consumption of Fixed Capital

Although the increase in depreciation in 2016 was much lower than the huge-level shift that occurred in 2016 we can see that around three-quarters of the 2016 increase is due to aircraft and intellectual property.  This, of course, matches the first table where we saw that an equivalent amount of the increase in the gross capital stock was related to these assets which have few direct links to activities in Ireland.  The aircraft are flying all over the world and many of the products that are derived from the IP are made in other countries with the R&D behind it all also having being undertaken elsewhere.

The figures for “total ex. aircraft and IP” at the bottom of each of the tables give a better indication of the underlying changes in Ireland’s capital stock.

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