Thursday 22 March 2018

China just ahead of EU for global exports as Irish trade to UK on up

Machinery and vehicles were the EU’s most exported products in 2016. Stock photo: Bloomberg
Machinery and vehicles were the EU’s most exported products in 2016. Stock photo: Bloomberg
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

China took the top position for the highest trade values in goods in 2016, with 17pc of the world exports coming from the Asian giant.

However both the European Union and the United States were close behind with 16pc and 14pc of the world exports respectively.

As for global imports, the US, with 18pc of the world's imports had the highest share in 2016.

The EU had 15pc of the world's imports, while China with 12pc of global imports, completed the top three, according to data from Eurostat.

Looking specifically at the EU, machinery and vehicles were the EU's most exported products in 2016, accounting for €744bn or 43pc total exports from the EU.

'Other' manufactured goods accounted for €396bn or 23pc of exports, while chemicals represented €314bn or 18pc of exports from the EU.

Manufactured goods also topped the list of EU imports, representing 69pc of total EU imports in 2016. Machinery and vehicles as well as chemicals accounted for smaller shares than the corresponding export shares, with 32pc and 11pc.

Overall last year the EU had a trade deficit in primary products and a trade surplus in manufactured products.

The deficit in primary products was largely due to the deficit in energy products of -€190bn, and to a lesser extent the deficit in raw materials of -€54bn.

The EU did however record a small surplus in the food and drink sector. The surplus in manufactured goods came from machinery and vehicles and chemicals.

Looking at Ireland, in 2016 total exports were €117bn, the highest annual total on record, according to initial figures from the Central Statistics Office - a 4pc increase in exported goods over 2015.

Meanwhile Irish imports decreased by 1pc or €507m year-on-year to approximately €70bn.

The preliminary trade surplus for 2016 was €47bn.

Export areas which grew during 2016 include electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances which increased by 150pc to €7.2bn in 2016.

This was followed by exports of organic chemicals which increased by 10pc to €23.6bn. Exports to Britain, the country's main trading partner, decreased by 4pc to €13bn in 2016 compared with 2015.

During 2016 exports to the US increased by 12pc to top €30bn, while Irish exports to EU countries were roughly unchanged at approximately €60bn. Looking at imports into Ireland, the majority of imports came from the EU, followed by the rest of the world.

There was a slight drop in imports from Britain.

So far this year goods exports to Britain have surged 14pc in the first six months of the year suggesting the sector is weathering the Brexit-induced weakness in the pound.

The main increase was in the exports of chemicals and related products, according to the figures from the CSO.

Imports are also on the up, although not quite as strongly.

Imports increased 7pc from Britain in the first six months of 2017.

However with the sterling continuing to fall - just this week it reached its weakest level since 2009 - it remains to be seen if exports to Britain can continue to expand as they become more expensive for British consumers to buy.

Irish Independent

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