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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 - 3:04 AM

Irish trade surplus rises on falling imports; Enterprise Ireland says 70% of lost indigenous exports recovered; Job numbers in Irish-owned firms fell
By Finfacts Team
Dec 23, 2010 - 11:01 AM

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Source: CSO

Seasonally adjusted Irish exports decreased by 2% between September and October and imports dipped by 11%, leading to an increase in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus of 8% to €4.15bn. The CSO reported that on an unadjusted basis, the value of exports in October 2010 was up by 19% compared with October 2009 and the value of imports was down by 1% . This resulted in a trade surplus increase of 41% to €4,294m. Meanwhile, Enterprise Ireland said on Wednesday that 70% of lost indigenous exports have been recovered, while job numbers in Irish-owned firms fell.

An analysis of trends between January and September of 2009 and 2010 shows:

Exports increased by 3% or €2.00nn to €66.85bn:

  • Medical and pharmaceutical products increased by 13% or €2,106m. Metalliferous ores and scrap metal increased by 83% or €298m.

  • Computer equipment decreased by 32% or €1.58bn.

  • Other transport equipment (including aircraft) fell by 72% or €462m.

  • Electrical machinery decreased by 9% or €243m.

  • Exports to the US (€15.50bn), Belgium (€10.03bn) and UK (€9.13bn) accounted for 52% of the total value of exports in the first nine months of 2010.

Imports decreased by 1% or €245m to €33.75bn:

  • Other transport equipment (including aircraft) fell by 30% or €1.05bn.

  • Computer equipment decreased by 33% or €972m.

  • Imports of Petroleum increased by 36%, Medical and pharmaceutical products by 27% and Road vehicles by 73%.

  • Goods from the United States decreased by 16% or €993m, from France by 21% or €370m and from China by 9% or €187m.

  • Imports from Switzerland rose by 122% or €380m and from Norway by 36% or €263m.

Minister of State for Trade, Billy Kelleher, commented: "This is an amazing performance by our exporters in what are extremely difficult trading circumstances globally and reflect our sharply improving competitiveness, which is an aspect of our economy which the Government will continue to pursue."

Politicians like simple explanations and while competitiveness is important in the longer term, new orders do not arrive like manna from heaven because of a change in an exchange rate or general costs.

US-owned pharmaceutical firms are responsible for more than 50% of Irish merchandise exports and the majority of foreign trade is between units of the same company rather than the market.

The sector employs less than 30,000 in a workforce of over 2m and as exports have surged in recent years, the numbers employed have fallen almost 10%.

Indigenous exports (goods and services) account for 9% of Ireland's tradeable exports and in its End of Year Statement published Wednesday, Enterprise Ireland estimates that its client companies grew export sales in 2010, recovering in the region of 70% of the losses made in 2009. Enterprise Ireland businesses reported an expansion in new export orders each and every month in 2010 and this trend is set to continue. The agency expects export sales from Enterprise Ireland clients in the order of €1bn in 2010 and more importantly they will spend €19bn in the Irish economy.

In overall terms, the total number of people at work (full time and part time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies was 156,577, a net decrease of 3,726, or -2.3%. Full-time employment in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 137,241 in 2010. A total of 8,193 new jobs were created by client companies with a net decline of 5,355.

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