Irish exports decreased 2% in April compared to March, with imports falling back 16% on the month, according to preliminary figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Compred to March 2007, the value of exports fell €190m to €7.51 billion in April. Imports were €863m weaker at €4.56 billion.

The trade surplus in the month rose to €2.95 billion, compared to €2.28 billion in March.

Looking at the January-March figures compared to the same three months in 2006, there was a 9% fall back in exports of medical and pharmaceutical products, while exports of organic chemicals rose 38%.

Overall exports for the first three months of 2007 were up 6% at €22.7 billion, compared to the first quarter of 2006.

Exports to Switzerland increased 77% to €862m, exports to France fell 7% to €1.37 billion and exports to Britain rose 7% to €3.52 billion.

In the first three months of this year imports rose 6% to €16.4 billion with imports from the US rising 28% to €2.47 billion and good from the UK increasing by 6% to €4.65 billion.