Irish trade with UK rose in March despite Brexit concerns

Seasonally adjusted trade surplus fell to €4.09 billion in March

The value of goods exports in March was €11.8 billion, representing a 4 per cent increase on the same month in 2018.  Photograph: Alan Betson

The value of goods exports in March was €11.8 billion, representing a 4 per cent increase on the same month in 2018. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Trade with the UK continued to improve in March, increasing by 12 per cent to €1.25 billion compared to the same month in 2018 despite ongoing Brexit concerns.

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), goods exports to Britain, the Republic’s largest EU trading partner, were driven by increases in exports of mineral fuels, lubricants and other minerals. Exports to Britain accounted for 11 per cent of total exports.

Imports from Britain increased by €141 million, meanwhile, rising to €1.7 billion with more machinery and transport equipment brought into the country. Britain accounted for 24 per cent of the value of total imports in March.

Meanwhile, exports to Northern Ireland rose 9 per cent to €181 million while imports rose 9 per cent to €143 million.

The EU accounted for half of total goods exports in March at €5.85 billion, of which €1.2 billion went to Belgium and €822 to the Netherlands. Compared to the same month in 2018, EU exports were down 1 per cent while imports from the bloc increased 5 per cent to €4.67 billion.

Other significant import partners in the month were the US, which accounted for €1.02 billion, or 14 per cent, and China with €404 million, or 6 per cent.

Pharmaceuticals

The Republic’s export trade is dominated by pharmaceuticals, which accounted for more than €7 billion of exports in the period. Our largest export partner is Belgium on account of Antwerp’s position as one of the largest global drug redistribution hubs.

The value of goods exports in March was €11.8 billion, representing a 4 per cent increase on the same month in 2018. Exports of organic chemicals fell 34 per cent to €1.9 billion in the month while exports of medical and pharmaceutical products improved by 20 per cent to €3.6 billion, representing 31 per cent of the value of total exports.

Imports rose 2 per cent to €7.2 billion in the month, helped by imports of aircraft and other transport equipment, which rose to €1.6 billion.

When adjusted for seasonal shifts, exports were down by more than €2 billion to €10.9 billion compared to February while imports dipped to €6.89 billion, leading to a 34 per cent fall in the trade surplus to €4.09 billion.