Exports, imports down in April
Exports fell by 9 per cent in April while imports were down 23 per cent, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The trade surplus stood at €3.43 billion, up from €3.11 billion in March but down from €3.81 billion in January.
The data show seasonally adjusted exports were down by €713 million in April compared to March, the lowest figure since March 2010.
Overall, exports were at €6.99 billion at the end of April, as against €7.70 billion in March and €8.31 billon in January.
Imports declined by €1.03 billion for the same period, the lowest figure since November 2010. Overall, imports totalled €3.56 billion at the end of April, compared to €4.59 billion for the preceding month.
For the first four months of 2012 exports amounted to €30.6 billion and imports €16.9 billion representing a trade surplus of €13.7 billion.
Chemicals and related products accounted for €4,19 million, or 60 per cent of the total exports of €7.04 billion in April.
On an annual basis, exports of medical and pharmaceutical products decreased by €471 million or 21 per cent while the value of exports of organic chemicals declined by €298 million, or 17 per cent.
Exports of petroleum and related products totalled €252 million in April 2012 compared with €104 million in April 2011.
The EU accounted for €4.18 billion, or 59 per cent of total exports in April with Belgium and Britain accounting for 30 per cent of all exports.
The US was the main destination for exports outside the EU accounting for 17 per cent of total exports in April.
On an annual basis imports decreased by €952 million, or 20 per cent from April 2011 to April 2012. This was mainly due to a €709 million decline in the imports of transport equipment.
Britain was the main source of imports in April. It accounted for €1.22 billion or 33 per cent of all imports, followed by the US at 10 per cent.
Davy Stockbrokers said the latest figures show exports export growth is continuing to slow leaving Ireland ever more reliant on the strongly preforming traded services sector.
Elsewhere, Glas Securities said the rebound in the trade surplus would be welcome following the fall in March. It added that the year to date surplus remains slightly ahead of the record years of 2010 and 2011.