Monday 14 October 2019

Trade with the UK moves into higher gear

Stock image: Yui Mok/PA
Stock image: Yui Mok/PA

David Chance

Trade with the UK surged in both March and in the first quarter of the year as the British economy grew more than expected and the pound rose in value.

Exports to the UK in March rose to €1.43bn from €1.28bn a year ago and to €4.18bn in the first quarter from €3.82bn in the same period of last year, according to data from the Central Statistical Office released today.

The UK economy expanded by a much larger than expected 0.5pc in the first quarter, according to figures released last week, in part due to stockbuilding due to Brexit uncertainties and also thanks to a boost in government investment.

The pound also rallied against the euro and by the end of the quarter, a euro was worth 86.04 pence versus 88.85 pence at the start of the year.

Overall, seasonally adjusted goods exports fell by 16pc in March to €11bn from the February figure, highlighting the volatile nature of monthly data.

Organic chemicals exports fell by more than €1bn in March this year from a year earlier while exports of medical and pharmaceutical products increased by €607mn to €3.68bn and accounted for 31pc of all exports.

There were few signs in the data that the hit to world trade from growing protectionist measures were hurting Ireland, although that could change if a dispute between the U.S. and European Union intensifies.

President Donald Trump may decide as early as this weekend to impose tariffs on car imports, a move that would prompt Europe to retaliate with duties of its own in what could lead to an escalating trade war.

Consultancy Capital Economics noted that Ireland was the most vulnerable of all EU states to trade restrictions as exports to the U.S. from here accounted for 10pc gross value added in the economy.

Gross value added measures the value of goods and services produced.

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