Trade surplus rises in July


The trade surplus rose almost 13 per cent in July as exports jumped during the month, new data from the Central Statistics Office showed today.

According to preliminary figures, seasonally adjusted exports rose by €452 million, or 6 per cent, compared with the previous month, to a total of €7.9 billion. Imports, meanwhile, fell by 0.4 per cent, or €14 million. That brought the trade surplus to €3.9 billion, a 12.6 per cent rise and the highest so far this year. On an unadjusted basis, the trade surplus rose above €4 billion.

The majority of Ireland’s exports were in the chemical and related products sector, accounting for 62 per cent or almost €4.9 billion of July’s total. The value of sector, which includes medical and pharmaceutical products, rose 15 per cent over the year.

Most of Ireland’s exports went to EU countries, with the region accounting for 57 per cent, or almost €4.5 billion, of goods traded with other countries over the month. Within this, Britain and Belgium accounted for 30 per cent of exports. Elsewhere, the US remained one of the largest markets for Irish goods, accounting for 23 per cent of the trade.

Year on year, imports were higher due to a rise in machinery and transport equipment being brought into the country, and increases in imports for the chemical and food and live animals sectors. More than 60 per cent of imports were from the EU, with the US and China accounting for 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

"Overall, these figures point to a trade surplus this year that will be at least in line with the past two years," Glas Securities said in a note.

The CSO also published volume figures for the first time, with export volumes growing by 2 per cent year on year in July.

“These data can be very volatile,” Goodbody’s Dermot O’Leary said. “Over the three month period to July, exports volumes actually fell by 6 per cent, while imports were down by 1 per cent. Comparing these figures to the value data…show that there has been a very significant increase in import and export prices over the past 12 months.”

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