Tuesday 21 May 2019

UK exports and imports climb as sterling rises

The pound also rallied against the euro and by the end of the quarter. Stock: PA
The pound also rallied against the euro and by the end of the quarter. Stock: PA

David Chance

Ireland's trade with the UK surged in both March and the first quarter as the British economy grew more than expected and the pound strengthened.

Exports to the UK in March rose to €1.43bn from €1.28bn a year ago and to €4.18bn in the first quarter from €3.82bn in the same period of last year, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.

The UK economy expanded by a much larger than expected 0.5pc in the first quarter, in part due to stockbuilding due to Brexit uncertainties and also thanks to a boost in government investment.

The pound also rallied against the euro and by the end of the quarter, a euro was worth 86.04 pence versus 88.85 pence at the start of the year.

Overall, seasonally-adjusted goods exports fell by 16pc in March to €11bn from the February figure, highlighting the volatile nature of monthly data.

Organic chemicals exports fell by more than €1bn in March this year from a year earlier while exports of medical and pharmaceutical products increased by €607m to €3.68bn and accounted for 31pc of all exports.

There were few signs in the data that the hit to world trade from growing protectionist measures were hurting Ireland, although that could change if a dispute between the US and EU intensifies. US President Donald Trump imposed increased tariffs on China this week, triggering retaliation that could hit Ireland hard as it is the most dependent of all EU countries on global trade.

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