Exports soar as tech and pharma firms sell overseas
EXPORTS soared in May as technology and pharmaceutical companies boosted sales overseas.
The trade surplus hit the highest level in more than a year after exports of goods rose 15pc from the previous month.
Exports in the volatile chemical and pharmaceutical products sectors jumped, reflecting strong industrial production and signalling the patent cliff effect is ending.
Analysts predicted the bounce back in exports will continue and that the manufacturing sector will contribute to economic growth this year for the first time since 2011.
"The trade data for May provides further evidence that the export sector is joining in the Irish economic recovery and will contribute to GDP growth in 2014," said Davy analyst Conall MacCoille.
Preliminary figures for May from the Central Statistics Office said seasonally adjusted exports increased by 15pc to €7.9bn. That's the highest level since March of last year.
The seasonally-adjusted trade surplus increased by €468m, or 16pc, to €3.34bn from April to hit the highest level since March 2013. Comparing May of this year to May 2013, the value of exports increased €660m, or 9pc, to €7.9bn.
The main drivers were increases of €213m, or 14pc, in the exports of organic chemicals, and €197m, or 12pc, in medical and pharmaceutical products. Exports Total exports during the month stood at almost €7.9bn on a seasonally adjusted basis which was 15pc higher than in April. Exports to the US increased by 30pc and to China by 29pc compared to the same month last year. The value of imports was also higher - rising €541m (14%) to more than €4.5bn.
Specialist bank Investec welcomed the data but sounded a note of caution. "The upturn we anticipated in the chemicals segment appears to be finally coming through but it should be pointed out, however, that this segment has a track record of volatility that pre-dates the onset of the 'patent cliff' period in late 2012," said economist Philip O'Sullivan.
Ryan McGrath of Cantor Fitzgerald described the increase as "aggressive".