SIPTU has stated that the quarterly national accounts, published today (Thursday, 19th December), show a welcome pick-up in domestic demand with real GDP rising by 1.5% in the third quarter of 2013. SIPTU economist, Marie Sherlock, said: “Signs of a turnaround in construction activity during the summer months along with a pick-up in consumer spending saw domestic demand expand by 2.4% in the third quarter. Unfortunately, this was partially offset by a contraction in net exports which was due to set backs in the pharmaceutical, electronics and food production sectors.“Were it not for a 18% annual increase in tourism and transport in the third quarter the net export position would have been worse.”She added: “Over the first three quarters of 2013, real GDP remains 0.5% below that recorded in the same period in 2012. In order to realise the Government’s target of 0.2% growth for the year, a real GDP increase of 1% in the final quarter will be needed. This isn’t impossible given that export demand is likely to rebound. However, there is ongoing concern about renewed weakness in consumer demand.”