Ireland's economy contracted by a shock 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months as imports surged and consumer spending fell, denting a recovery that had been gaining traction since the completion of an EU/IMF bailout last year.
Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.3 percent for 2013 as a whole, following a year of scant growth in 2012, although growth in the third quarter of the year was revised up to 2.1 percent to paint a volatile picture.
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Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth of 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter and full-year growth of 0.3 percent.
They see the economy growing by 2.1 percent next year,similar to the government's forecast.
Personal consumption fell by 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2013 compared to the previous three months, while exports rose 2.1 percent and imports climbed 5.8 percent.