Asian markets could make or break Ireland's ambitious agri-food targets
This time of year normally sees the release of Bord Bia's annual report reviewing the performance of Ireland's food and drink exports in the previous year.
In recent times this report has justifiably been greeted with fanfare. 2015 marked the sixth consecutive year of growth with the value of Irish food and drink exports more than 50pc ahead of 2009 levels, albeit much of the growth in 2015 was driven by the weak euro rather than significant increases in the volumes exported.
This year's report is likely to conclude that 2016 was more challenging. First, dairy product prices remained depressed for most of 2016 and second, and more significantly, the Brexit referendum has resulted in a considerable weakening of the sterling against the euro.
In the months following the referendum, the euro/ sterling exchange rate averaged at £0.86, meaning that Irish exports destined for the UK were 20pc more expensive than the previous year.
Significant for Ireland given that 41pc of Irish food and drink exports went to the UK market in 2015. IBEC reported that by Q4 2016, the value of Irish food exports to the UK was down 5.6pc year-on-year.
Developments further afield also contribute to future uncertainty for Irish food and drink exports, in particular the election of Donald Trump to the White House.
Although less than 10pc of Ireland's agri-food exports currently enter the US market, the indirect effect of Trump's policies on international trade may be substantial given that the US is the world's largest exporter of agricultural products.
During his election rhetoric, Trump pledged to dismantle NAFTA - the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement which exists between the US, Canada and Mexico.