Strong exports boost the balance of trade


Colm Kelpie

Ireland's trade surplus in June was the second highest so far this year, with economists hailing the continued broad-based recovery in Ireland's goods exports.

The trade surplus is a measure of the difference between the value of imports and exports, and is a seen as a good indicator of how the economy is doing.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said goods exports fell and imports rose in May compared with April, shrinking the trade surplus by 14pc compared to April's figure.

But monthly data can be volatile and while exports fell on the month, the value of those exports was 8pc higher compared to the same month last year.

Economists said the latest data shows that Ireland's goods exports are continuing their broad-based recovery, with a number of indicators now suggesting the economic recovery accelerated in the first half of the year.

Conall Mac Coille, of Davy Stockbrokers, said Irish exports have expanded at a rapid pace this year, bouyed by the weakness of the euro.

"In the year to May, goods exports equalled €44bn, up 18pc from the €37.2bn recorded in 2014," he said. "True, the rebound has reflected the exceptional 31pc rise in pharmaceutical exports but even excluding pharmaceuticals goods, exports have increased by 12.6pc.

May's data showed that the value of exports in the month was €8.8bn, representing a rise of €673m, or 8pc, on May 2014.

The main driver was the rise in the exports of medical and pharmaceutical products of €542m, or 30pc, to €2.36bn.