'Incredible' export performance hailed as Brexit looms
Ireland's goods exports rose sharply in April, including a 10pc gain to the UK, as the rush to beat Brexit boosted trade across the Irish Sea.
Yesterday's report by the CSO found export trade booming as Ireland's trade surplus - the gap between the value of exports versus imports - surged to €23bn in the first four months of 2019, 27pc higher than a year ago.
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"It's an incredible performance for Ireland, particularly when you consider that the international backdrop has become trickier," said Philip O'Sullivan, chief economist at Investec in Dublin.
"These figures must reflect precautionary stock-building on the client side and by producers here, given that people are nervous about a hard Brexit," he said. "Events in Westminster and Washington do have the power to shift the needle, but this is a really bright start to the year."
Goods worth more than €12.5bn were exported globally, 14pc more than in April 2018 and 13pc more than in March 2019. Exports over the first four months of 2019 totalled €50.5bn, 13pc higher than in January-April 2018.
April goods exports to the United Kingdom - recipients of 9pc of all Irish exports - rose to €1.13bn, 10pc higher that in April 2018, led by increased sales of fuels and chemicals.
Imports of goods rose to €7bn in April, 6pc higher than April 2018 and 2pc higher than the previous month, with particular gains in petroleum, aircraft and other transport equipment.
Goods imports from the UK remained lively, growing by 8pc to €1.5bn - and representing 22pc of all such imports to Ireland.
The UK remains Ireland's top source for imports. The second-place United States sent Ireland €1.24bn in goods, up 24pc from April 2018.