Exports decline by €703m in 12 months to end of June

Trade surplus narrows to less than €3bn for first time since January

Ships in Dublin Port being loaded with goods for export. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill

Ships in Dublin Port being loaded with goods for export. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill


The value of Ireland’s exports declined by €703 million between June 2012 and June 2013, due to a slump in medical-related exports.

While Ireland’s exports edged 1 per cent higher to €7.15 billion in June this year when compared to May, they slumped 9 per cent or €703 million compared to June 2012.

Figures published by the Central Statistics Office show the main drivers behind the decline were a decrease of €376 million or 24 per cent in the export of organic chemicals and a fall of €284 million or 12 per cent in the export of medical and pharmaceutical products. Exports of dairy products, however, increased by 33 per cent or €55 million.

The figures confirm a trend identified by the Irish Exporters Association, which last week estimated the value of exports from the Republic would fall by €2.8 billion this year due to sliding earnings from pharmaceutical sales.

Pharmaceutical and organic chemical exports make up 60 per cent of goods sold overseas from Ireland. However, exports of them have been hit in recent months due to a decline in sales of some major drugs that have come off patent. The IEA report also noted the impact on exports of the expiry of patent protection for blockbuster drug Viagra, the active ingredient for which is made in Pfizer’s Cork facility.

Yesterday’s export and import figures show Ireland’s seasonally adjusted trade surplus narrowed in June, standing at less than €3 billion for the first time since January.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, exports grew 1.2 per cent during June, while imports recorded month-on-month growth of 4 per cent. This prompted a 2 per cent fall in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €2.99 billion.