Business Irish

Saturday 21 October 2017

Exports down 6pc on back of petrol slump

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THE value of exports slumped 6pc in May compared with the same month last year, new figures show.

Analysts said that the figures were weaker than expected.

Petroleum and petroleum- related products, as well as pharmaceutical products, were the main drivers of the fall, down 26pc and 72pc respectively, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The decline in pharma exports is being attributed to the so-called patent cliff – the expiry of patents on a number of drugs manufactured here.

Imports were also down, with the seasonally adjusted trade surplus falling 7pc to €3bn.

Alan McQuaid, of Merrion Stockbrokers, said the decline in exports this year could be higher than expected.

"Overall Irish export growth last year has been revised down to 1.6pc from 2.9pc before, and well below the growth rates of 5.4pc and 6.4pc in 2011 and 2010 respectively," Mr McQuaid said. "We are now forecasting a 2pc volume fall in exports this year, with the risk that the decline will be higher than this, especially as the sluggish external demand conditions that acted as a drag on the performance of merchandise exports last year are likely to persist in 2013."

He said the export sector will remain the main driver of growth. But he warned there were risks, especially because of difficulties in the eurozone.

Irish Independent

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