Irish exports rise 8% to €122bn this year as pandemic drives demand

Latest trade numbers detail soaring demand for medical and pharmaceutical products

The value of Irish goods exports has risen by 8 per cent to €122 billion so far this year.

The strong performance, detailed in the latest trade figures, was driven by exports of medical and pharmaceutical products, which have surged as a result of the pandemic.

The Central Statistics Office figures show the value of goods exports for the nine-month period from January to September was €122.36 billion, an increase of €8.6 billion (8 per cent) on the same period last year.

Exports for the month of September fell by 5 per cent to €13.7 billion while imports fell by 8 per cent to €6.2 billion.


This resulted in a seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €7.5 billion million in September.


Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products increased by €830 million (17 per cent) to €5.6 billion in September , accounting for 40 per cent of the total value of exports, while exports of organic chemicals increased by €1 billion (57 per cent) to €2.8 billion.

The Republic is a global hub for pharma and medtech, playing host to 24 of the top 25 biggest players, including Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis and AbbVie.

These companies have been ramping up production to meet soaring demand for medicines and products connected with the treatment of coronavirus.

The main change on the import side was a fall of €939 million (57 per cent) of other transport equipment, including aircraft.

As the Brexit deadline approaches, exports to Britain decreased by 2 per cent to just over €1 billion and accounted for 8 per cent of the total value of goods exports.


The value of goods exports to Britain in the first nine months of 2020 was €8.9 billion, a decrease of 11 per cent compared to last year.

The EU accounted for just more than €5.6 billion or 40 per cent of total goods exports in September, of which €1.9 billion went to Germany and €1.2 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 United States.

The US was the single largest export destination, accounting for €4.6 billion or 33 per cent of total exports in September.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times