Trade surplus rises in October
Exports increased by 2 per cent in October while imports were down 7 per cent, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The value of exports in the month came in at €7.46 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, an increase of €119 million from September.
Seasonally adjusted imports declined by 7 per cent or €294 million in the month.
This resulted in a trade surplus increase of 14 per cent or €3.28 billion.
Comparing October 2012 with the same month last year, the value of exports increased by €110 million (or 2 per cent) to €7.4 billion, with the value of exports for fuel, machinery, food and live animals all increasing.
The export of chemicals decreased by €253 million or 6 per cent, but this was partially offset by an increase of €208 million in medical and pharmaceutical products.
Imports increased by €490 million or 13 per cent between October 2011 and October 2012 to €4.3 billion.
The EU accounted for €4.84 billion (or 60 per cent) of total exports in October, while the USA was the main destination for exports outside the EU accounting for 20 per cent of total exports the same month.
The EU was also the main source for imports (accounting for 60 per cent) followed by the US (12 per cent) and China (7 per cent).
The reality is that 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, but there are clear downside risks in the short-term, especially in relation to external demand, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said.
He noted some recovery from the fall in industrial output in September, which was largely related to the expiry of patents.
"Still, it is not clear if the patents issue was a one-off or not. If not then Ireland’s overall export performance will suffer in the coming months, impacting negatively on the country’s economic growth as a result," he said.