Irish exports hit near record €13.6bn in July despite global slowdown

Strong trading performance comes amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty

Figure comes on the back of another surge in exports of medical and pharmaceutical products

Figure comes on the back of another surge in exports of medical and pharmaceutical products

 

The value of Irish goods exports hit a near-record €13.6 billion in July despite signs of a major slowdown in global trade and the ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

The latest trade figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show exports jumped more than €2 billion or 18 per cent in July compared with the previous month.

The headline figure was the second-highest on record, eclipsed only by the €13.7 billion in January, and comes on the back of another surge in exports of medical and pharmaceutical products.

The Republic’s export trade is dominated by pharmaceuticals, with most of the world’s largest pharma companies having bases here. Pharmaceuticals account for more than 60 per cent of total goods exports.

The latest figures show the biggest monthly change in exports was medical and pharmaceutical products which increased by €661 million to 18 per cent to €4.3 billion.

Seasonally adjusted goods imports, meanwhile, increased 4 per cent to €7.4 billion, which resulted in a headline trade surplus of €6.3 billion, up €1.8 billion or 41 per cent on the previous month.

UK exports

Exports to Britain, which is being closely monitored because of Brexit, fell 6 per cent to €1.1 billion in July on foot of falls in exports of chemicals and related products. However, the underlying trend remained strong, with the value of goods exports to Britain over the first seven months of 2019 put at €8.4 billion, up 5 per cent on the first seven months of 2018. Goods exports to Britain accounted for just 8 per cent of total exports, lower than previous years.

The Government believes market diversification, in other words reducing the State’s reliance on the UK market, is key to managing the Brexit risk.

The State’s food and drink trade is still heavily reliant on the UK and remains the most exposed to Brexit.

The figures show the EU accounted for just over €6.5 billion or 50 per cent of total goods exports in July, of which €1.4 billion went to Belgium.

Antwerp is one of the largest global drug redistribution hubs and receives most of the State’s pharma exports that are not destined for the US.

The US was the single largest export destination, accounting for €4 billion or 31 per cent of total exports in July.