Irish exports top €92bn in 2012

The value of Ireland's exports rose by 1 per cent year on year, while imports increased by 1.5 per cent to ?49 billion, giving a trade surplus of almost ?43 billion for the year.

The value of Ireland's exports rose by 1 per cent year on year, while imports increased by 1.5 per cent to ?49 billion, giving a trade surplus of almost ?43 billion for the year.

Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 00:00

Ireland's exports reached €92 billion last year, the highest level in a decade, new data from the Central Statistics Office showed.

The value of the country's exports rose by 1 per cent year on year, while imports increased by 1.5 per cent to €49 billion, giving a trade surplus of almost €43 billion for the year.

The rise came even as exports of medical and pharmaceutical products fell by 7 per cent compared with €2011, dropping to €24.5 billion.

"In recent months the focus has been particularly centred on the 'chemicals and related products' sector, given concerns about the potential impact of the patent cliff," NCB chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said.

"These concerns were elevated by industrial production data that revealed a very steep decline in that segment in September, but developments since then have been more reassuring, with production recovering by 40.1 per cent since then."

The US remained the top market for Irish exports, with Belgium and Britain close behind. But exports of goods to Switzerland increased by €1.4 billion, or 38 per cent, as the US total fell by 16 per cent to €18.2 billion.

There was a rise in the value of petroleum imports of €441 million, or 35 per cent, to €1.6 billion. Imports of transport equipment, including aircraft, rose by 6 per cent to €2.5 billion.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton welcomed the figures, noting that services exports were 11 per cent higher over the first nine months of 2012 compared with the prior year, indicating a stronger year for exports all round.

“A strong export performance will be crucial to delivering the economic recovery we are all working so hard to achieve," he said.

“Conditions in international markets remain difficult, but today’s record figures show that Irish exporters are performing extraordinarily well in a tough environment. Other recent signs including the major jobs announcements we have seen recently show that there are real reasons for optimism about the transition that is occurring in our economy."

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