Saturday 24 February 2018

Trade surplus hits €4bn as exports up 17pc

Thomas Molloy

IRELAND'S monthly trade surplus hovered at around €4bn for the third straight month in November as exports continued to surge and imports remained subdued, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said yesterday.

The country posted a surplus of €4.1bn in November as exports jumped 17pc to €8bn and imports inched up 2pc to €3.9bn from the same month 12 months earlier. The three-month annual growth rate of goods imports was 2.5pc in October, the CSO added.

"Together, these figures are indicative of weak Irish domestic demand. Import growth is likely to pick up only gradually in 2011 given the pressures on real incomes," said Davy Stockbrokers' Conall MacCoille.

Analysts said import growth is likely to remain weak this year. Ireland buys most of its goods, services and commodities from a small group of countries, with the UK, US, Germany and China providing 58pc of everything we import.

France, the Netherlands, Canada and Norway are the only other countries on track to sell goods worth more than €1bn to Ireland.

Imports fell 0.4pc in the first 10 months of 2010 as demand for computer equipment slumped by almost a third.

Exports rose 5pc over the same period as companies sold more medical and pharmaceutical products overseas.

One of the few areas to post a big jump was vehicles, which almost doubled in October as the car scrappage scheme encouraged drivers to buy new cars.

While exports are rising, the Economic and Social Research Institute warned last week that this will have little effect on unemployment as most companies which are heavily dependent on exports do not employ many people.

Foreign-owned firms accounted for 91pc of Ireland's tradeable goods and services exports in 2009, Forfas said in a detailed report last year.

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