Value of Irish exports increases 4% in August

EU takes 56% of goods from Ireland, while the US takes 21%

Goods going to the European Union accounted for 56 per cent of total exports from Ireland in August. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Goods going to the European Union accounted for 56 per cent of total exports from Ireland in August. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images


The Irish export sector appears to be recovering slowly, as figures released by the Central Statistics Office show a rise in the level of exports in August after a poor performance earlier in the year.

The value of Irish exports on a seasonally adjusted basis was €7.64 billion, 4 per cent higher than July and 7 per cent higher than average monthly exports in the first seven months of the year.

When compared with last August however, the value of exports fell by 17 per cent to €6.96 billion in the month, due to exceptionally high exports in August 2012.

Exports of organic chemicals fell €579 million on a year-on-year basis, while medical and pharmaceutical exports were down €422 million, largely due to a number of Irish-manufactured drugs coming off patent this year.

Exports to the European Union accounted for 56 per cent of the total in August. The US was the main destination outside the EU, taking 21 per cent of exports.

The value of imports increased by 1 per cent, or €39 million, to €3.9 billion comparing August to the same month in 2012.

Imports of petrol and related products accounted for the most significant increase, rising 32 per cent in the period.

Some 64 per cent of goods imported into Ireland in the month came from within the EU, with 31 per cent coming from the UK.

The US was the main source of non-EU imports, accounting for 11 per cent of the total, followed by China at 8 per cent.

“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,” Merrion Stockbrokers economist Alan McQuaid said in a note.

“Weak global demand has hit Irish exports in the past couple of years, particularly on the merchandise goods side. But there are signs now that the world economy, including the key markets of the United States, Eurozone and UK, is starting to recover, which augurs well for Irish exports in the coming months. This should to some degree help offset the negative drag from the patents issue.”

Merrion Stockbrokers is forecasting a flat performance for exports in 2013, even allowing for a pick up in activity in the latter part of the year.

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