Trade surplus rises 10% in April as exports rise 7%

But trade with Britain shows decline


The trade surplus increased by 10 per cent to €4.4 billion in April, fuelled by a 7 per cent increase in imports.

But trade with Britain fell, with both exports and imports showing a decline in the year to April.

Seasonally adjusted figures showed goods exported from Ireland totalled €11.1 billion during the month, a rise of €722 million compared with the previous month.

Imports rose by €318 million, or 5 per cent, to €6.6 billion, pushing the the trade surplus higher by €404 million.

The largest increase in exports was seen in medical and pharmaceutical products, which rose by 31 per cent, or €914 million, to €3.8 billion compared with the previous year.

Exports of transport equipment, including aircraft, rose by 48 per cent to €493 million, increasing by €160 million.

However, that was partly offset by a decline of 37 per cent in the export of electrical machinery, which fell by €215 million to €370 million in the year.

Meanwhile, imports of mineral fuels rose 41 per cent to €427 million compared with April 2017. Showing a decline were imports of other transport equipment, including aircraft, which fell by 32 per cent to €1 billion, and medical and pharmaceutical products, which declined 22 per cent to €889 million.

Trade with the Britain fell in the year to April with exports down 31 per cent to €1 billion, and imports down 2 per cent to just under €1.4 billion.

The decline in exports was attributed to a fall in exports of Chemicals and related products, with decreases also seen in the export of Minerals fuels and lubricants, and food and live animals.

Imports, meanwhile, declined in chemicals, offset by a small rise in the import of machinery and transport equipment.

In the period between January and April 2018, exports showed a downward trend, falling 8 per cent year on year to €4.3 billion compared with the first four months of 2017. Imports rose 5 per cent in the same period.

The EU remained Ireland’s major trading partner, showing an increase of 6 per cent in the year to April, and accounting for 48 per cent of the total goods exports in the month. Of the €5.2 billion in total exports to the EU, Belgium accounted for €1.3 billion, with Germany at €838 million.

More than 65 per cent of total imports came from the EU, with €4.1 billion in goods bought in from the region.

Outside the EU, the US was the main destination for Irish goods, with exports worth €3.1 billion, or 28 per cent of April’s total. The US was the top source of imports outside the EU, at €884 million, with China accounting for 6 per cent, or €354 million.