Exports up by 4% in August, CSO statistics show
Earnings from overseas travellers rose 5.2 % between second quarter of this year and last
The Irish export sector appears to be recovering slowly, as figures released by the Central Statistics Office show a rise in the level of exports in August after a poor performance earlier in the year.
The value of Irish exports on a seasonally adjusted basis was €7.64 billion, which is 4 per cent higher than July and 7 per cent higher than average monthly exports in the first seven months of the year.
When compared with last August, however, the value of exports was down 17 per cent to €6.96 billion in the month, due to exceptionally high exports in August 2012.
Exports of organic chemicals fell €579 million on a year-on-year basis, while medical and pharmaceutical exports were down €422 million, largely due to a number of Irish-manufactured drugs coming off patent this year.
Exports to the European Union accounted for 56 per cent of the total in August. The US was the main destination outside the EU, taking 21 per cent of exports.
The value of imports increased by 1 per cent, or €39 million, to €3.9 billion comparing August to the same month in 2012.
Imports of petrol and related products accounted for the most significant increase, rising 32 per cent in the period.
Some 64 per cent of goods imported into the Republic in the month came from within the EU, with 31 per cent coming from the UK.
The US was the main source of non-EU imports, accounting for 11 per cent of the total, followed by China at 8 per cent. “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,” said Merrion Stockbrokers’ economist Alan McQuaid in a note.
“Weak global demand has hit Irish exports in the past couple of years, particularly on the merchandise goods side. But there are signs now that the world economy, including the key markets of the United States, Eurozone and UK, is starting to recover, which augurs well for Irish exports in the coming months.”
Merrion Stockbrokers is forecasting a flat performance for exports this year, even allowing for a pick-up in activity in the latter part of the year.
Separate CSO figures showed yesterday that overseas trips to Ireland by non-residents increased from 1.817 million in the second quarter of 2012 to 1.893 million trips in the same period of this year.
The number of nights spent in the State by overseas travellers increased by 4.8 per cent in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period of last year.
In real terms this points to a rise from 12.7 million to 13.3 million.
Total tourism and travel earnings from overseas travellers to Ireland increased by 5.2 per cent between the second quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of this year, increasing from €1,048 million to €1,103 million.
In the second quarter of this year, the number of trips made by Irish residents overseas increased 1.4 per cent to 1.752 million trips, up from 1.727 million in the same quarter of last year.
Total tourism and travel expenditure by Irish residents overseas increased 3.7 per cent, from €1,054 million in the second quarter of last year to €1,093 million in the second quarter of this year.