Exports at 13-year high as weak euro boosts competitivesness
The value of Irish exports surged by more than a fifth in March compared to the same period last year to reach its highest level in 13 years.
A rebound in medical and pharmaceutical exports have helped largely drive the figures, along with the weaker euro.
Preliminary data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that Ireland's crucial exports were valued at €9.1bn in March.
Analysts also hailed the fact that exports have surged since the start of the year, thanks in part to improved competitiveness gains from the weaker euro.
Davy Stockbrokers said goods exports are up 17.4pc in the first three months of this year compared to 2014, thanks to a rebound in pharmaceuticals, which are up 21pc on the year.
"Nonetheless, excluding this sector, Irish goods exports are up 9.1pc year-to-date," said Davy economist Conall MacCoille.
"This suggests that Irish export performance is benefitting from stronger demand and from the competitiveness gains, vis-à-vis the UK, from the weak euro."
The CSO data shows that while exports decreased 2pc in March and imports rose 4pc, the trade surplus narrowed by 10pc to €3.43bn. The value of exports for March was €9.1bn, representing an increase of €1.6bn, or 21pc, when compared to March of last year. The last time the value of exports was above €9bn was in May 2002 when it reached €9.1bn.
The CSO said the main driver behind the increase was a 58pc surge in exports of medical and pharmaceutical products.
"The underlying narrative is one of broad based growth in exports, propelled by favourable currency moves and the improved economic performance of a number of Ireland's key trading partners," said Philip O'Sullivan, economist with specialist bank Investec.
"Elsewhere, the upturn in investment and personal consumption here has led to an increased appetite for imports. We expect to see more of the same in the months ahead."
Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers said that despite a difficult global economic and demand backdrop, the overall export performance of goods and services last year was strong.
"The weak euro will be clearly beneficial for a huge exporting country like Ireland, as will the close trading ties with both the US and UK, two of the better performers on the global economic stage in 2014. And the indications are that these two key economies will perform well again in 2015," Mr McQuaid said.