Ireland's trade surplus grew in May, according to new preliminary figures from the Central Statistics Office, as exports rose and imports declined.

Today's CSO figures show that seasonally adjusted exports increased by 5% to hit €13.19 billion in May compared to the previous month, while seasonally adjusted imports decreased by 8% to €6.689 billion in May. 

This resulted in a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of €6.501 billion in May, up 22% from the trade surplus in April.

The CSO said that on an annual basis, the unadjusted value of exports in May rose by 14% to €13.521 billion 

It noted that the biggest rate of change in exports was Organic chemicals, which increased by 98% to €3.604 billion in May 2019 compared with the same time last year. 

Meanwhile, exports of medical and pharmaceutical products decreased by 19% to €3.627 billion in May.

Today's figures show that the EU accounted for 50% of total exports in May 2019, of which €1.517 billion went to Germany and €1.427 billion to Belgium. 

Total EU exports in May increased by 18% compared with the same time last year. 

The CSO said the US was the main non-EU destination accounting for 28% of total exports in the month.

On the import side of things, today's CSO figure showed that the unadjusted value of imports for May slipped by 2% to €6.804 billion compared to the same month in 2018. 

Imports of other transport equipment, including aircraft, decreased by 37% to €789m in May, while imports of office machines and automatic data processing machines jumped by 60% to €489m and imports of Organic chemicals soared by 83% to €581m. 

The CSO said the EU accounted for 64% of total goods imports in May, an increase of 1% on the same time last year. The US - on 10% - and China - on 6% - were the main non-EU sources of imports.