Trade surplus down 9% in January - CSO

Wednesday 19 March 2014 11.43
Seasonally adjusted exports fall by 6% in January from December
Seasonally adjusted exports fall by 6% in January from December

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show a 6% fall in seasonally adjusted exports to €7.217 billion in January compared to December.

Seasonally adjusted imports fell by 4% to €4.12 billion, which resulted in a 9% fall in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €3.098 billion.

But the value of exports climbed by 4% to €7.031 billion in January compared to the same month the previous year.

The CSO said the key reason for the rise was a 6% increase in the export of chemicals and related products and and a 9% rise in the exports of food and live animals.

The value of imports rose by 2% to €4.528 billion in January on an annual basis, with imports of petroleum products and related materials rising by 42% and chemical and related products up by 7%.

On an overall basis, the EU accounted for 54% of total exports in January, while the US accounted for 23%.

The EU also accounted for 64% of the value of imports in January, with 33% coming from the UK, while 9% came from the US and 6% from China.

The EU also accounted for 64% of the value of imports in January, with 33% coming from the UK, while 9% came from the US and 6% from China.

Commenting on today's figures, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that the export sector has been the main driver of Irish economic activity in recent times and will remain the key growth engine for some period to come. 

He said that weak global demand has hit Irish exports in the past couple of years, particularly on the merchandise goods side. But there are signs now that the world economy is starting to recover, which augurs well for the export sector in 2014. 

"That said, demand in these countries was affected by the very poor weather conditions in the early part of 2014, but this should correct itself as the year goes on. Stronger global demand should to some degree offset the negative drag from the patents expiry issue on certain pharmaceutical products," he added.