Exports continue to rise

IRISH goods exports continue to soar as values hit a 10-year high of €92bn in 2012.

The figures from the CSO said that there was a 1pc increase on 2011's value to just under €91.3bn.

The United States accounted for 20pc of Irish exports during 2012, while Belgium and Britain both accounted for 15pc and 8pc of exports last year were to Germany.

But the research has identified that while the overall value of exports increased, medical and pharmaceutical exports fell by €1.9bn, or 7pc, during 2012.

The value of similar imports also fell, decreasing by 6pc to €4.1bn.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said that a strong export performance will be crucial to delivering the economic recovery.

"Conditions in international markets remain difficult, but today's record figures show that Irish exporters are performing extraordinarily well in a tough environment," he said.

"Other recent signs, including the major jobs announcements we have seen recently, show that there are real reasons for optimism about the transition that is occurring in our economy.

"The challenge now is to build on these strengths."

However, Alan McQuaid, of Merrion Capital, said the December aspect of the figures were not as strong as expected.

"Irish export growth in 2012 looks set to be weaker than in 2011. We are forecasting a volume rise of 2.9pc in goods and services, pushing back up again to 4pc in 2013 and 5.5pc in 2014," he said.