Trade surplus narrows to €3.4 billion in April

Exports increased by 1 per cent and imports rose by 4 per cent resulting in 3% decrease in trade surplus

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus fell in April as exports increased by 1 per cent and imports rose by 4 per cent.  Photo: Bloomberg

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus fell in April as exports increased by 1 per cent and imports rose by 4 per cent. Photo: Bloomberg

Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 12:41

The seasonally adjusted trade surplus fell in April as exports increased by 1 per cent and imports rose by 4 per cent.

According to the Central Statistics Office, a seasonally adjusted increase in exports of €53 million to €7.3 billion was recorded in April.

Seasonally adjusted imports increased by €169 million to €3.9 billion resulting in a 3 per cent decrease in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €3.4 billion.

The cumulative trade surplus in the first four months of 2013 was €1.3 billion, €1.2 billion lower than the total surplus of €13.6 bilion in the same period last year.

Comparing this April with April 2012, the value of exports increased by €433 million or 6 per cent, to €7.5 billion.

The main drivers were increases of €212 million (12 per cent) in the exports of medical and pharmaceutical products and €127 million (58 per cent) in the exports of office machines and automatic data processing machines.

The exports of petroleum, petroleum products and related materials decreased by €167 million (66 per cent).

On an overall basis the EU accounted for €4.3 billion (58 per cent) of total exports in April. Almost a quarter of that (€1.06 billion) was exported to Britain.

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said overall Irish export growth last year was 2.9 per cent, down from 5.1 per cent in 2011 and 6.2 per cent in 2010.

“We are tentatively forecasting a volume rise of 4 per cent in goods and services this year, but with the risks to the downside, especially as the sluggish external demand conditions which acted as a drag on the performance of merchandise exports last year are likely to persist in 2013.”

Speaking today from Luxembourg, where he is chairing a meeting of the EU Trade Council, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said a strong export performance will be crucial to delivering economic recovery.

“It is clear to me from the trade and investment missions I have travelled on that while conditions in international markets remain difficult, Irish companies and multinational companies based in Ireland are working very hard and can compete with the very best on the global stage.”

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