Trade surplus falls in February


Ireland’s trade surplus fell in February as both imports and exports declined over the month.

The preliminary figures for the month showed the trade surplus was €197 million lower compared with January. Seasonally adjusted exports were down by just over €1 billion compared with January, and imports were €856 million lower.

The Central Statistics Office said chemical products accounted for the majority of Ireland’s exports, totalling €4.4 billion, or 60 per cent, of the €7.4 billion worth of goods traded overseas in February.

About half of this trade was carried out with other EU countries, excluding the UK, and the US accounted for 21 per cent.

Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products falling by 14 per cent, or €326 million, and organic chemicals declining by €182 million.

Total exports to the EU were €4.6 billion, or 62 per cent, during the month. The majority of the trade was carried out with Belgium and the UK, which combined represented more than half of the EU share. Outside the EU, the US was Ireland’s largest export trade partner, with 19 per cent of exports going there over the month.

The main source of imports was the UK, which accounted for 35 per cent or €1.4 billion, of the total.

"While February’s trade surplus was 22 per cent lower than the record monthly surplus recorded last November (€4.62 billion), trade figures in the first two months of 2012 are broadly in line with those recorded in 2011," Glas Securities said in a note.

"However, given concerns regarding external demand, trade statistics in the coming months will be closely monitored for any signs of a softening in the figures."