Sunday 25 August 2019

Ireland's exports to UK, world grow strongly in May

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Shawn Pogatchnik

The value of goods exported to the UK keeps rising despite the uncertainties of Brexit, the CSO has found in its latest trade figures.

Monday’s export and import statistics show robust growth in exports worldwide, with the value of goods up 14pc in May and 13pc for the first five months of 2019 versus the same periods of 2018.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, goods exports increased by 5pc to nearly €13.2bn in May from the month before. Imports declined by 8pc to below €6.7bn, increasing Ireland’s month-on-month trade surplus to €6.5bn, its highest level since January.

Exports to Great Britain - representing 9pc of Ireland’s export total - increased by 4pc to nearly €1.25bn in May versus the same month a year ago, led by increased shipments of chemicals, fuels, lubricants and related materials.

The CSO records trade with Northern Ireland separately from the rest of the UK. It found that the value of exports to Northern Ireland grew 11.4pc in the first five months of 2019 to €897m, but declined by 2.3pc to €169m in May, compared to the same periods in 2018.

Economists say Ireland’s strong exports this year to Britain reflect, in part, the stockpiling of goods in British warehouses in the run-up to and aftermath of the UK’s missed March 29 deadline to leave the European Union. This pattern could continue in the approach to the next Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.

Irish exports to other parts of the EU are also growing strongly. In the first five months of 2019, exports have increased to Germany by 35pc to €5.46bn, to Belgium by 4.7pc to €7.64bn, to the Netherlands by 19.6pc to €3.54bn, to France by 5.4pc to €2.35bn, and to Italy by 13.8pc to €1.6bn.

Ireland’s top market, the United States, saw exports rise by 15.4pc to nearly €18.7bn in the first five months of 2019.

Irish exports to China, the world’s second-largest economy, are growing the quickest of all among major trading partners, rising by 72.5pc to €3.46bn in the first five months of 2019. Unusually for China’s trading partners, Ireland is recording a strong export surplus, taking in just €2.1bn in Chinese goods over that period, up 9.6pc from a year ago.

Bucking the trend, the value of goods shipped to Switzerland declined in the first five months of 2019 by 8.5pc to €2.86bn. Exports to Japan slumped by 19.2pc to €1.1bn.

Online Editors

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