Export values hit highest level since 2002 in March - CSO
THE value of exports hit their highest levels since 2002 in March, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.
A rebound in medical and pharmaceutical exports have helped largely drive the positive 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. The last time it broke through the €9bn barrier was in May 2002.
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 good exports are up 17.4pc in the first three months of this year compared with 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 Mac Coille.
“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 with 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