Exports decreased by 2% in March

Merrion Economics said figures were ‘better than expected’

Exports of 	medical and pharmaceutical products fell by 11%, or €299 million, to €2.3 billion

Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products fell by 11%, or €299 million, to €2.3 billion

 

Exports in March decreased by 2 per cent as pharmaceutical products fell sharply, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Preliminary figures for March show that seasonally adjusted goods exports decreased by 2 per cent, or €181 million, to €8.57 billion compared with February.

Seasonally adjusted goods imports decreased by 12 per cent, or €619 million, to €4.46 billion.

This led to a 12 per cent increase, or €439 million, in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €4.1 billion in March.

The unadjusted value of goods exports for March 2016 was €9.36 billion, representing a decrease of 1 per cent, or €75 million, when compared with March 2015.

Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products fell by 11 per cent, or €299 million, to €2.3 billion.

Exports of electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances increased by 126 per cent, or €320 million, to €574 million.

Exports of office machines and automatic data processing machines decreased by 16 per cent, or €69 million, to €374 million over the same period.

On imports, the figures show the (unadjusted) value of goods for March was €5.15 billion, representing a decrease of 19 per cent, or €1.2 billion, when compared with March 2015.

Imports of organic chemicals decreased by 26 per cent, or €100 million, to €286 million.

Imports of machinery specialised for particular industries dropped by 65 per cent, or €207 million, to €112 million. Imports of road vehicles increased by 11 per cent, or €36 million, to €356 million over the same period.

The EU accounted for almost half of total goods exports in March with €4.6 billion, of which €1 billion went to Belgium and €1.1 billion to Britain. The USA was the main non-EU destination accounting for a quarter of total exports at €2.3 billion.

In a note, analyst Merrion Economics said the figures were “better than expected” but that they were mainly a result of lower imports.

“Business and consumer confidence have been dented in recent months by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” it said.

“There was very strong growth in Irish merchandise exports in 2015, and we think 2016 will see another solid performance.

“But imports also recorded a healthy rise last year, and despite an up-and-down start to 2016, we see them posting healthy growth again this year assuming Britain votes next month to stay within the EU.”