Ireland had a current account surplus of almost €8.09 billion last year, more than four times higher than the surplus recorded in 2011, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The current account balance in the last quarter of 2012 was also up by over €1 billion compared to the last three months of 2011, reaching €2.85 billion.

In the last three months of 2012 services exports were up €2.14 billion to €23.75 billion, largely due to an increase in computer service exports.

Merchandise exports fell by €208 million, however, while imports in the sector grew by €39 million.

Direct investment abroad saw a €3.81 billion increase in the fourth quarter of 2012, while direct investment in Ireland fell by €334 million.