Tuesday 24 April 2018

Exports drop 10pc as global downturn hits outlook for sector


Siobhan Creaton

Irish exports, which have been performing strongly, dropped by 10pc in July showing signs that the downturn in the global economy is having an impact.

The Central Statistics Office said exports that month were worth just over €7bn -- 10pc lower than in the same month last year -- while imports were unchanged at less than €3.6bn.

The drop in exports, which was mainly due to a decline in the chemical sector, is disappointing although figures for just one month may not indicate an overall weaker trend.

Bloxham economist Alan McQuaid said the figures weren't surprising. "With signs that the global economy is slowing down, Ireland's export figures are likely to weaken in the coming months," he said.

NIB economist Ronnie O'Toole said that while trade figures could be very volatile the July performance did reflect a weaker outlook for the sector.

Davy economist Conall Mac Coille cautioned that monthly figures had been a "very poor" guide to final export figures in the national accounts.

Monthly figures tend to be "very erratic" and he says it is too early to say the sector is being hit by global economic conditions.

The CSO also released more detailed figures for the first half of 2011 showing exports were up 7pc to €47.1bn compared with the same period last year.

Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products were up 14pc, while organic chemical exports rose 13pc.

Computer equipment exports fell by 7pc while exports to the US increased by 14pc to just over €1.3bn.

In terms of imports, petroleum and medical and pharmaceutical products rose by 24pc. Goods imported from the UK were up 19pc and 16pc from Germany.

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