Exports declined in August
EXPORTS fell back in August from the record-breaking €4bn seen in July, but remained strong, latest CSO figures show.
The value of exports in August was up 13pc on the same month in 2009. Imports also picked up, rising by 2.8pc in the month and showing a gross increase of 11.7pc over last year.
The trade surplus of exports over imports came to €28.4bn in the first eight months -- a €1.7bn increase on the 2009 figures. "Irish exports continued their strong performance in 2010," said Ronnie O'Toole, Chief Economist at National Irish Bank. "However, reflecting the weak state of domestic demand, imports are likely to contract in the three months to October, pushing Ireland closer to a balance of payments surplus -- after profit outflows -- as early as this year."
Alan McQuaid, economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers, said there is some uncertainty regarding the sustainability of the buoyant performance of the pharmaceuticals sector.
"Output from this industry tends to be inherently volatile due to factors such as patents and product cycles. Meanwhile, the worrying aspect for indigenous Irish exports in particular is the renewed weakness in the dollar and sterling, making it more expensive for exporters to sell their goods into the United States and UK."
"But we still think the greenback and the British pound will strengthen against the euro on a six-month view, as the eurozone's mounting government debt problems and a slowdown in the German economy start to weigh on the single currency," Mr McQuaid said.