Trade gap rises marginally


Ireland's trade gap rose marginally in May as both exports and imports of goods rose.

Compared with April, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 7 per cent, or €518 million, to €7.5 billion, with imports up 15 per cent, or €515 million, to almost €4.1 billion.

That left the trade surplus at €3.45 billion, a similar level to the trade gap in April.

Davy's David McNamara said the recovery in exports was an encouraging sign, although figures were marginally down on the previous year.

The majority of exports were in chemicals and related products, which amounted to €4.5 billion, some 60 per cent of the total exports for the month.

“It is encouraging that exports in this key sector have not fallen further, given concerns about the expiry of drug patents and cost-cutting measures in the industry and disappointing exports in this category in April,” Glas Securities said in a note. “However data from this sector will be monitored closely in the coming months for signs of any weakness.”

Year-on-year, the medical and pharmaceutical sector showed a 5 per cent increase, with organic chemicals increasing by 9 per cent.

Ireland’s main export market remained the EU, which accounted for 58 per cent, or €4.4 billion, of the total value of exports in May. Britain, Belgium and Germany were responsible for 36 per cent.

The US was the main destination for exports outside the EU, taking 23 per cent of total exports.