Official figures show the value of Irish goods exports in June was €703m lower than in the same month last year.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the 9% drop in the value of exports was mainly driven by a 24% fall in the value of organic chemical exports and a 12% fall in the value of exports of medical and pharmaceutical products.

Together they accounted for a €660m decline in export levels.

The CSO figures confirm a trend identified by the Irish Exporters' Association.

In its recently published half-year report the IEA reported a fall in export levels over the first half of the year.

The IEA report also noted the impact on exports of the expiry of patent protection for blockbuster drug Viagra, the active ingredient for which is made in Cork.

Pharmaceutical and organic chemical exports make up 60% of goods sold overseas from Ireland.

On an overall basis the EU accounted for €4.5 billion, or 61%, of total exports in June. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for 21% or €1.5 billion of total exports during the month.

The CSO figures show imports also fell slightly, by €9m, to €3.97 billion. The biggest factor in the fall in value of imports was a €124m drop in organic chemical imports again reflecting the impact of the pharmaceutical sector on the Irish economy.

The EU was the source of 64% of the value of imports in June with 30% coming from Britain. The US and China were the main non-EU sources of imports.