The Republic’s trade boom continued in June with medical and pharmaceutical products making up nearly 40 per cent of all goods exports. The latest trade numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) also showed that rising fuel prices have driven up the value of imports from Britain by 72 per cent so far this year.
The figures show the State exported €17.5 billion worth of goods exports in June, including €6.4 billion of medical and pharmaceutical products. The total was €2.8 billion higher than June 2021. On a six-month basis, the value of Irish exports rose to a record €105 billion, nearly €25 billion (31 per cent) up on the previous year.
The Republic is a global hub for pharma and medtech, playing host to 24 of the top 25 players, including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Novartis and AbbVie. These companies have ramped up production of a range of drugs to meet increased demand globally.
The value of goods imports increased by €2.8 billion (28 per cent) to €12.7 billion in June compared with June 2021. The value of goods imports on a half-year basis was up by €17.5 billion (36 per cent) to €66.7 billion, when compared with the same time period of 2021.
Within the import category, imports from Britain grew by 54 per cent to nearly €2.2 billion in June compared with June 2021. The largest increases were in the imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related products, which includes gas and transport fuels.
Energy and fuel
Imports from Britain between January and June were up by €4.8 billion (72 per cent) to €11.4 billion, compared with the same period in 2021, reflecting increasing fuel prices internationally. The Republic imports most of its energy and fuel from Britain.
Brexit has also triggered increased trade between the Republic and Northern Ireland and the latest data show that imports from Northern Ireland for the January-June period this year were €413 million (21 per cent) higher at €2.4 billion when compared with the same period of 2021.
Exports to Northern Ireland over the six months increased by €662 million (38 per cent) to €2.4 billion when compared with the same time period in 2021.
The EU accounted for €6.2 billion (35 per cent) of total goods exports in June, of which €1.6 billion went to Germany, €1.5 billion went to Belgium and €1.2 billion went to the Netherlands. Total EU exports in June 2022 increased by €604 million (11 per cent) compared with June 2021.
The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €5 billion (29 per cent) of total exports in June. The EU accounted for €3.6 billion (29 per cent) of total goods imports in June while the UK with €2.6 billion, accounted for 20 per cent, again a reflection of higher fuel and energy prices.
“At a high level, the trading environment looks good. While seasonally adjusted figures are slightly down (-8 per cent) overall, unadjusted goods imports and exports for June 2022 versus June 2021 have increased, showing that trade is increasing on the Covid levels of last year,” Carol Lynch, partner in the BDO customs and international trade services, said.
“It’s important to consider that inflation has accounted for a significant proportion of the increase of value of goods imported from the UK, specifically ‘chemicals and related products’ and ‘mineral fuels, lubricant and related materials’,” she added.