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Trade surplus shrinks as poor global demand knocks back exports

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The trade surplus contracted by more than a fifth in November as the value of exports fell 4pc from the same month last year and imports rose.

Exports fell 7pc in November compared with the previous month and the value of exports dropped 4pc compared to the same period last year to €7.46bn.

Imports rose 2pc on the month and the value of goods brought into the country rose by the same amount year-on-year.

That left the trade surplus to fall by 21pc to €2.31bn in November.

Alan McQuiad of Merrion Stockbrokers struck an upbeat tone, saying exporters should continue to perform well largely because our main trading partners include countries like the UK and US, whose economies are performing relatively well.

"Weak global demand hit Irish exports in the past couple of years, particularly on the merchandise goods side," Mr McQuaid said.

"But the overall performance of goods and services in the first three-quarters of 2014 was strong, up 11.9pc in volume terms.

"However, with signs that the world economy is starting to struggle again, particularly the Eurozone, there are doubts as to whether Irish merchandise exports will do as well in the coming quarters."

Mr McQuaid said the weaker euro will be beneficial for exporters. But he cautioned: "As regards 2015, it will be difficult to increase and actually maintain market share in an ever-more competitive environment. Although not as strong as 2014, we still see Irish exports of goods and services rising by a healthy 7pc in volume terms this year."

Meanwhile, separate data from Eurostat showed that Ireland had the largest yearly increase in industrial production in the EU in November, compared to the previous month.

Industrial production rose by 35.8pc over the period.

The highest rises were in Ireland's pharmaceutical and high-tech sectors.

The food and energy sectors also showed strong growth.

 

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Irish Independent