Tuesday 10 December 2019

Imports jump 18pc as pharma sector helps boost exports

Sean Duffy

Imports to Ireland rose by 18pc in November of last year, according to latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

The total amount of goods brought into the country rose by €938m to €6.1bn.

Irish exports fell by €57m over the month, a drop of 1pc. The total number of Irish goods sent overseas was €10.9bn in November. However, compared to the same month in 2015, Irish exports actually rose by 5pc.

The pharmaceutical sector accounted for a large portion of this, with €3.3bn worth of goods being sent abroad by multinationals based here, a rise of 28pc. There was also a sharp spike in the number of electrical goods exported, with the figure rising by 152pc to €703m.

In a sign that the agricultural industry is holding firm after Brexit, the number of food and live animals exported rose by 6pc, or €52m.

Overall, there was a 5pc increase in imports in November compared to the same month in 2015. The unadjusted value of goods arriving into Ireland during the month stood at €6.5bn

The number of cars and trucks brought into Ireland fell by €65m to €367m, a drop of 15pc. Petrol imports rose by 41pc to hit €308m during the month.

The EU was the largest market for Irish goods, accounting for 50pc of all Irish exports. Over the course of the year, exports to the EU rose by 2pc, or €105m.

Britain received €1.5bn worth over the period, while €1.2bn worth of goods were sent to Belgium for distribution to other European countries. Exports to non-EU countries rose by 14pc in the same period to €678m.

More than a quarter of Irish exports (26pc) were sent to the US, making it the single largest market for Irish goods outside the EU. A total of €2.8bn was sent to the US during the period.

European goods (55pc) accounted for the largest proportion imported into Ireland, while goods from the US accounted for 21pc of imports. Over a fifth of goods coming into Ireland (22pc) came from the UK.

Overall the figures reveal that the Irish trade surplus narrowed to €4.04bn in November, down from a reading of €5.04bn in October. Dermot O' Leary, chief economist at Goodbody stockbrokers said the figures showed the Irish export sector was holding up in the face of external uncertainties.

"The caveat with Irish export figures is that they are always exceptionally volatile, but the important thing that comes through from these figures is that the trade surplus remains very large.

"The trend in exports is still upward and significantly, the volume of exports is well up on the previous reading. Looking at the figures, it's difficult to see any impact from currency swings that would have been a concern for exporters."

Irish Independent

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