Sunday 17 November 2019

Barclays positive about Ireland as ‘stunning’ export figures reach €9.1bn in August

Peter Flanagan

IRELAND’S willingness to implement all the terms of its bailout and the additional reforms taken to restore our competitiveness has boosted the country’s standing on the global stage, according to Barclays Bank.

The report came as new figures showed that on a seasonally adjusted basis, exports reached €9.1bn in August, up 16pc on July.

According to the new statistics, the figures showed the trade surplus ballooned to €4.9bn in August, as exports surged 17pc compared to the same time last year.

Imports advanced at a more pedestrian 5pc on the month and were also 5pc above year-earlier levels. In volume terms exports and imports rose 17pc and 1pc respectively in August relative to the previous month.

NCB stockbrokers described the figures as “stunning”.

In a note to clients this morning, Barclays said that while good progress has been made so far, the road to recovery is long and “unlikely to be easy”.

It also said while the banks may now be well capitalised, they are unprofitable and continue to rein in credit.

Commenting on the export figures, Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Merrion Stockbrokers said: "The bottom line is that the export sector has been the main driver of Irish economic activity in recent times and will remain the key growth engine for some period to come, but there are clear downside risks in the short-term, especially in relation to external demand."

He added: "Another concern relates to the sustainabilty of the positive contribution from the chemicals sector. Output from this area tends to be quite erratic at the best of times due to company-specific developments in patents and product cycles."

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