The value of Ireland's goods exports and imports reached their highest level on record in March, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The value of goods exports reached €20.2bn during the month, up 37% on same time last year.

The export of medical and pharmaceutical products jumped 63% to €9.2bn, making it the largest category of goods exports.

The figures show that medical and pharmaceutical products represented 46% of total exports.

There was a 29% increase in the exports of organic chemicals, a 22% increase in the exports of electrical machinery, apparatus, appliances and parts and a 16% increase in the exports of food and live animals.

The CSO figures show the US continues to be Ireland's biggest single goods export market, accounting for €7.3bn or 37% of total exports in March 2022.

This is up 62% on the same time last year.

The EU accounted for €7bn or 35% of total exports in March 2022, of which €2.5bn went to Germany and €1.2bn went to Belgium.

Total EU exports in March 2022 increased by €1.3bn million or 24% compared with March 2021.

Exports to non-EU countries, excluding the UK, in March 2022 were valued at €11.3bn, which is an increase of 51% on the March 2021 level of exports.

Exports to Great Britain in March 2022 were €1.4bn, which is an increase of 13% on the same month in 2021 - and accounted for 7% of total exports in March 2022.

Exports to Northern Ireland were €410 million in March 2022, an increase of €100 million (+32%) on March 2021.

Goods imports

The CSO figures show that the value of goods imports in March was €11bn, an increase of 20% when compared with March 2021 and the highest monthly value on record.

The EU accounted for €3bn or 27% of total goods imports in March 2022, a decrease of €197 million or 6% compared with March 2021.

Imports from Great Britain increased by €540 million or 39% to €1,909 million compared with March 2021.

The main increases were in the imports of mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials, and chemicals and related products.

"It should be noted that the large growth rate in imports from Great Britain is partly explained by the relatively low level of imports in March 2021," said Ciarán Counihan, Statistician with the CSO.

"March 2021 was the third month in which customs documentation was required for trade with Great Britain, which impacted on our trade with Great Britain," he added.

Our main non-EU sources of imports were the UK at 21%, the USA at 14%, China at 11% and Switzerland at 9%.

"These figures are truly remarkable, they show that our trade levels reached the highest ever level in March of this year, despite immense global challenges and uncertainty. It was the best month on record," said the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar.

"Trade significantly increased in every market on previous year's figures. Ireland owes it’s relative prosperity to trade. Our jobs and living standards depend on our performance and the revenues collected fund our schools and hospitals," Mr Varadkar said in a statement.

"The figures are a testament to the strength of so many businesses and their workers around the country. The Government will continue to encourage companies to diversify and identify new markets and continue to break new records in the months ahead," he added.