Irish export figures far ahead of forecasts
IRISH exports have defied more cautious Department of Finance forecasts, rising by 12pc and far outpacing a 3.9pc gain for the European Union as a whole.
Official forecasts from the Department of Finance had pencilled in a drop in the pace of increase for exports to 5.2pc this year from 8.9pc in 2018.
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They also reckoned that economic growth would shift down a gear - to 3.9pc this year from 6.7pc, with modified exports contributing just 1.6 percentage points to domestic growth in 2019 compared with 5.7pc last year.
Ireland's 12pc growth in exports was the highest in the EU aside from Luxembourg and compares with just 2pc growth from Germany, Europe's largest economy and industrial powerhouse.
"While care must be taken with these (nominal) data due to the statistical curveballs that the multinational sector can produce, we note that our 2019 economic forecasts for Ireland assume real (volume) export growth of 2.5pc this year," said Investec's chief economist, Philip O'Sullivan.
"Notwithstanding the cloudier international outlook, the risks to our Irish export forecast look to be tilted a little to the upside at this juncture," Mr O'Sullivan said.
Ireland is the most exposed European economy to the US, at 10pc of gross value added produced in the economy. It means that the country could be in for a torrid time if US President Donald Trump expands his trade wars by slapping tariffs on cars, a move that would prompt retaliatory tariffs from the EU.