Ireland's unadjusted exports of goods exceeded €20 billion in a month for the first time in March, driven mainly by growth in the exports of medical and pharmaceutical products, as well as organic chemicals, new data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows.
The data also shows that imports exceeded €11 billion for the first time on record. Imports from Britain grew by 39 per cent to €1.9 billion, driven mainly by increases in the imports of mineral fuels and chemicals.
However, CSO statistician Ciarán Counihan noted that the large growth rate in British imports was partly explained by the relatively low level of imports in March 2021, when customs documentation was required for trade.
Seasonally-adjusted goods exports increased by €2 billion (12 per cent) to €18.4 billion in March compared with February; while imports decreased by €241 million (2 per cent) to €9.7 billion, leading to an increase of €2.4 billion (34 per cent) in the seasonally-adjusted trade surplus to €8.7 billion in March compared with the previous month.
Seasonal adjustment compares month-to-month data by removing fluctuations that may occur due to seasonal patterns in trade.
The unadjusted value of goods exports for March was €20.2 billion, an increase of €5.5 billion ( 37 per cent) when compared with March 2021 and was the highest monthly value for goods exports on record.
The value of goods exports for January-March was €52.3 billion, an increase of €11.9 billion (30 per cent) when compared with the first three months of 2021.
Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products – 46 per cent of total exports – increased by €3.6 billion (63 per cent) to €9.2 billion in March compared with the same period last year.
Exports of organic chemicals increased by €761 million (29 per cent) to €3.4 billion. Exports of food and live animals increased by €158 million (16 per cent) to €1.1 billion over the same comparative period. Exports of electrical machinery, apparatus, appliances and parts increased by €226 million (22 per cent) to €1.3 billion.
Exports to Britain were €1.4 billion, an increase of €162 million (13 per cent) compared with March 2021, accounting for 7 per cent of total exports with the value of goods in the first quarter at €3.8 billion, an annual increase of €798 million (26 per cent). Imports from Britain increased by €540 million (39 per cent) to €1.9 billion compared with March 2021. Britain accounted for 17 per cent of the value of total imports in March 2022.
The EU accounted for €7 billion (35 per cent) of total goods exports in the month of which €2.5 billion went to Germany and €1.2 billion went to Belgium. Total EU exports increased by €1.3 billion (24 per cent) compared with March 2021.
The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €7.4 billion (37 per cent) of total exports.
The EU accounted for €3 billion (27 per cent) of total goods imports, a decrease of €197 million compared with March 2021.
The UK with €2.3 billion (21 per cent), the US with €1.5 billion (14 per cent), China with €1.2 billion (11 per cent) and Switzerland with €1 billion (9 per cent) were the main non-EU sources of imports.