Exports driving recovery with 2pc monthly increase
EXPORTS continued their recent recovery, with a 2pc increase in September, when seasonal factors, such as the August holidays, are taken into account.
The total value of exports, at €7.8bn, was 4pc higher than in September last year. The cost of imports increased by 1pc, although the volume rise may be greater.
Detailed figures for August showed a 10pc drop in the cost of imports, but a 4pc rise in their volume, as prices fell.
The resulting jump in the trade surplus to €4.2bn was just short of July's record figure.
Economists say strong exports and weak consumption may see Ireland move into surplus in its dealings with the rest of the world next year, which could help market sentiment. For the first eight months of the year, exports grew by 2pc in value compared with the same period last year and imports fell by 2pc.
Most of the export gain came from medical and pharmaceutical products, with an 11pc rise. Sales of computer equipment plunged by a third over 2009, and exports in electrical machinery decreased by 18pc.
Imports of cars and other road vehicles jumped by 68pc over last year, buoyed by the success of the scrappage scheme; oil imports increased by 28pc; and medical and pharmaceutical products rose by 27pc.
"The export sector offers the one ray of light at the moment in a fairly gloomy economic picture, and will be the key driver of the Irish recovery story in the years ahead," said Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers.
"We are looking for a volume increase in goods and services of 7.5pc in 2010 and another healthy increase of 6.5pc in 2011. We also think the overall merchandise trade surplus will break through the €40bn level this year."