Exports subdued but strengthen for second consecutive month

Chemical and pharmaceutical exports continue to suffer

In the first three months of the year exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products fell by more than 11 per cent on the same period in 2012

In the first three months of the year exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products fell by more than 11 per cent on the same period in 2012

Fri, May 17, 2013, 01:00



The value of exports rose modestly for the second consecutive month in March, but foreign sales of goods made in Ireland remain subdued.

According to the Central Statistics Office, a seasonally adjusted increase in exports of €272 million (or 4 per cent) was recorded in March on the previous month. The value of goods exports stood at €7.3 billion in March, down on the average monthly earnings of €7.6 billion last year.

Weaker exports reflect weaker growth in most main markets, with the largest market of all – Europe – remaining in recession in the first quarter, as confirmed on Wednesday.

Some of the weakening in exports is also likely to be of a more structural nature. The expiry last year of a series of patents on drugs manufactured in Ireland has led to a reversal of some of the spectacular increases that industry had experienced in previous years.

In the first three months of the year exports of chemical and pharmaceutical products fell by more than 11 per cent on the same period in 2012. Despite the fall, chemicals and pharmaceuticals remain by far the largest single goods export category, accounting for 60 per cent of the total in the first three months of the year.

By geography, the EU accounted for €4.5 billion (or 57 per cent) of total goods exports in March 2013. The US was the main non-EU destination, accounting for 26 per cent (€2.1 billion) of total exports.

Seasonally adjusted imports decreased by €83 million (or -2 per cent) to €3.8 billion in March. Two-thirds of the total value of imports in March came from the EU.

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus stood at €3.5 billion in March.