Irish exports to Britain up 10% in April despite Brexit turmoil

Latest figures show trade between Republic and Britain remains robust

The value of goods exports for the period January and February 2019 was €26.3bn, an increase of nearly €4bn  or 17%   when compared with the first two months of 2018. Photograph: Alan Betson

The value of goods exports for the period January and February 2019 was €26.3bn, an increase of nearly €4bn or 17% when compared with the first two months of 2018. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Irish exports to Britain jumped 10 per cent in April, and remain strong despite the Brexit turmoil, according to latest trade figures.

They show exports to Britain in value terms rose by over €100 million to €1.1 billion in April, driven by increased trade in fuels and chemicals.

The underlying trend was also positive, with goods exports to Britain up 8 per cent to €4.7 billion in the first four months of 2019.

Imports from Britain were also up 8 per cent to €1.5 billion in April. The figures, compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), show imports from Britain accounted for 22 per cent of total imports in April.

A disorderly or no-deal Brexit with the imposition of World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs raises the prospect of sharp increases in costs for Irish importers and a separate and simultaneous reduction in demand for Irish exports, both of which will hurt income here.

The figures show the value of all Irish goods exports rose by €1.5 billion (13 per cent) to €12.4 billion in April, while good imports increased by €120 million (2 per cent) to €7.1 billion. This resulted in an adjusted trade surplus for April of €5.3 billion.

The strong performance comes amid signs of a global slowdown in trade, threats from Brexit and faltering US-China trade relations.

The value of goods exports for the period January and February was €26.3 billion, an increase of nearly €4 billion or 17 per cent when compared with the first two months of 2018.

The value of goods exports for the period January to April was €50.5 billion, an increase of €5.7 billion (13 per cent ) when compared with the first four months of 2018.

The biggest rate of change in exports was medical and pharmaceutical products, which increased by 21 per cent to €4.6 billion in April compared with April 2018. This represents 37 per cent of the value of total exports.

The State’s export trade is dominated by pharmaceuticals, which account for more than 60 per cent of total goods exports because of the strong multinational pharma manufacturing base here.

Pharma exports

The EU accounted for €5.7 billion (46 per cent) of total goods exports in April, of which €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 which are not destined for the US.

Just over €1 billion of exports went to Germany.

The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for just under €4 billion or 32 per cent of total exports in April.

The value of good imports for January and April was €27.5 billion, which is an increase of 3 per cent on last year.

Imports of transport equipment, including aircraft, decreased by €175 million (14 per cent) to €1.4 billion.