Exports of goods rose 2% in October, while imports fell 7%
Goods exports increased by 2 per cent in October on a month earlier, while imports were down 7 per cent, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office .
The value of goods exports in the month came in at €7.5 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, an increase of €119 million from September and broadly in line with monthly export earnings during 2012.
Comparing October 2012 with the same month last year, the value of exports increased by €110 million (or 2 per cent), with the value of exports for machinery, food and live animals all increasing.
The value of chemical exports, which account for over half of all goods exports, decreased by €253 million, or 6 per cent, but this was partially offset by an increase of €208 million in medical and pharmaceutical products.
The October numbers further allay fears of a sharp fall in pharmaceutical exports owing to the expiration of a number of patents on medicines manufactured in Ireland that go to supply the global marketplace.
In the first 10 months of the year, the value of pharmaceutical exports stood at just over €21 billion, a fall of 3.6 per cent over the same period in 2011.
Geographically, the EU accounted for €4.84 billion (or 60 per cent) of total exports in October. The US, meanwhile, was the main destination for exports outside the EU accounting for 20 per cent of total exports the same month.
The seasonally adjusted value of goods imports declined by €294 million on the month, to stand at €4.2 billion. Imports have been growing moderately over the course of the year. As a result, the October import bill was slightly above the average over the previous nine months.
Imports increased by €490 million, or 13 per cent, between October 2011 and October 2012.
The EU was also the main source for imports (accounting for 60 per cent) followed by the US (12 per cent) and China (7 per cent).
Together, developments in exports and imports in October resulted in an increase of the monthly trade surplus of 14 per cent in October, to reach €3.3 billion.
Commenting on the data and referring to international economic conditions, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said: “The reality is that the export sector has been the main driver of Irish economic activity in recent times and will remain the key growth engine for some period to come, but there are clear downside risks in the short term, especially in relation to external demand.”