Business Irish

Sunday 26 March 2017

Level of goods exports slip slightly for a fourth month

Exports fell slightly in August
Exports fell slightly in August
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The level of goods exports fell slightly in August for the fourth month in a row. Imports slumped by 6pc, compared with the previous month.

But on an annual basis, the value of Ireland's exports was 5pc greater than the same period last year.

Analysts said that while export growth has weakened over the summer months, values are still up an impressive 19.4pc year-to-date.

But they said the export sector looked like it was facing a weaker end to the year on the back of yesterday's data from the Central Statistics Office.

"Ireland's export sector has benefited from the weakening euro against both the dollar and sterling, but the bottoming out in the exchange rate in recent months means that most of the FX tailwinds have passed," said David McNamara, an analyst with Davy Stockbrokers.

"Indeed, export values slipped for a fourth consecutive month in August.

"Nonetheless, the release as yet does not provide any detail on volumes which may well be performing better."

Preliminary figures for August from the CSO showed that seasonally adjusted goods exports fell by €122m, or 1pc, to €8.66bn, compared with the previous month.

Goods imports dropped by a much larger 6pc, or €317m, to €4.94bn. That left a trade surplus of €3.73bn.

The unadjusted value of goods exports for the month was up 5pc compared with the same period last year, to €8.17bn. Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products recorded the largest increase, growing by €702 million, or 39pc, to €2.5bn.

Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers, said the trade balance should increase this year for the first year since 2010.

"Ireland's trade performance in the past 18 months or so has benefited from competitiveness gains made against its main partners and by the weakening of the euro, particularly against sterling and the dollar," Mr McQuaid said.

Irish Independent

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