Irish exports surge to record €160bn in 2020 despite pandemic
Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products drive record performance
The value of Irish goods exports hit a record €160.8 billion last year despite the global economic slump. Photograph: Alan Betson
The value of Irish goods exports hit a record €160.8 billion last year despite the global economic slump.
This was an increase of €8.3 billion (5 per cent) on 2019 and comes on the back of a surge in exports of medical and pharmaceutical products.
The latest trade numbers from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the value of pharma exports rocketed by 25 per cent to €62 billion last year, accounting for 39 per cent of all Irish goods exports in 2020.
These companies have been ramping up production to meet soaring demand for medicines and products connected with the treatment of Covid-19.
The latest figures show the value of imports fell by 6 per cent last year to €85 billion.
This generated a record trade surplus of €75 billion for 2020.
Imports of other transport equipment, including aircraft were valued at €12.7 billion last year, or 15 per cent of total imports. This was a decrease of 41 per cent on the 2019 level of imports.
Petroleum imports, meanwhile, fell by 40 per cent €2.6billion on foot of the travel restrictions, the CSO said.
For the month of December, the value of seasonally adjusted goods exports decreased by €2 billion (14 per cent) to €12.5 billion, the figures show, while the value of goods imports decreased by 19 per cent to €7 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The value of exports to Britain in 2020 fell by 9 per cent to €12.4 million and accounted for 8 per cent of total Irish exports.
Imports from Britain totalled €17.8 billion, a decrease of 5 per cent, when compared with 2019, meaning the Republic ran a trade deficit of €5.4 billion with Britain in 2020. Imports from Britain accounted for 21 per cent of total Irish imports in 2020.
The EU accounted for €63.9 billion (40 per cent ) of total exports in 2020, an increase of €7.2 billion on 2019. Within this there were exports of €17.9 billion to Belgium and €17.4 billion to Germany.
The US was the largest export destination in 2020, accounting for €49.9 billion or 31 per cent of total exports.