The CSO released the Q2 external debt figures today. The headline figure is that Ireland’s external debt increased to €1.74 trillion at end-June 2010.

The CSO report that:  “At 30 June 2010, the gross external debt of all resident sectors (i.e. general government, the monetary authority, financial and non-financial corporations and households) amounted to €1,737bn. This represents an increase €63 bn in the stock of financial liabilities to non-residents (other than those arising from issues of Irish equities and derivatives contracts) compared to the level shown at the end of March 2010 (€1,674bn).”

I thought it might be interesting to see how external debt has altered since the quarterly data was first released in 2003, creating the following graph using the CSO data (available here also below).  Ireland’s external debt (including that not only of government but also financial institutions based here and in the real economy) has increased markedly over the period.  In terms of the state, total government debt has increased from €24.4bn in Q2 2003 to €80bn in Q2 2010, and monetary authority debt has increased from €5.6bn in Q2 2003 to €65.7bn in Q2 2010 (having been €103.5bn in Q2 2009 and €5.1bn in Q2 2008).  Clearly, a dominant factor in these two arenas is the fiscal crisis and the bank bailout.  The bottom line, whether it’s overall debt or state debt, is that external debt has grown enormously over the past 7 years, and is set to be a significant issue for the foreseeable future.

Ireland's external debt Q2 2003-2010

Ireland external debt Q2 2003-2010 raw figures

Rob Kitchin

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