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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Feb 15, 2012 - 1:16 PM


Irish merchandise exports fell by 9% in December; Pharmaceutical patent expirations was a factor
By Finfacts Team
Feb 15, 2012 - 1:13 PM

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Source: CSO

From a November high of €8.25bn, seasonally adjusted Irish merchandise exports fell by 9% to €7.50bn in December. Imports increased by 8% to €4.02bn, resulting in a 23% decrease in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €3.48bn. The Central Statistics Office said a substantial part of the decline in the value of exports was due to a high value product in the pharmaceutical sector coming off patent in December.

The figures for January to November of 2011 compared with the same period of 2010 show:

Exports increased by 5% to €85.74bn: Exports of Medical and pharmaceutical products increased by 11% or €25.66bn, Organic chemicals by 8% or €1.46bn, Dairy products by 26% or €340m and Meat by 15% or €316m.

Exports of Computer equipment fell by 11% or €446m.

Goods to the US increased by 6% or €1.11bn, to Great Britain by 4% or €480m and to France by 12% or €480m.

In the first eleven months of 2011, the US (23%), Belgium (15%) and Great Britain (14%) were Ireland’s main export markets.

Imports increased by 6% to €44,136m: Imports of Petroleum increased by 25% or €940m, Medical and pharmaceutical products by 23% or €746m and Organic chemicals by 23% or €438m. Imports from Great Britain rose by 14% or €1,726m and from Germany by 13% or €399m.

In the first eleven months of 2011, nearly one third (32%) of Ireland’s imports came from Great Britain.

Conall Mac Coille, chief economist at Davy comments:

Goods exports down in December but up in Q4

  • Irish goods exports fell from €8.25bn in November to €7.5bn in December;
  • This means that the value of Irish goods exports rose by 2.4% in Q4 over Q3;
  • Goods imports rose to €4.0bn in December, up from €3.7bn in November.

Trade balance declines in December

  • The trade balance fell to €3.4bn in December, down from €4.5bn in November;
  • The goods trade balance was €11.7bn in Q4, up from €11.2bn in Q3.

Goods export volumes bounce back in November following the values data

  • The goods volumes data lag values by one month;
  • Goods export volumes rose by 8.0% in November, to reach their highest level this year, following a 5.5% fall in October.

No clear evidence of a material slowdown in Irish exports

  • As is clear from the pattern of goods exports growth in 2011, we should not infer too much from one month's data - - specifically the sharp fall in December;
  • Goods export values rose in Q4 over Q3;
  • There is little tangible evidence that the contraction in euro area GDP in Q4 is pushing down on demand for Irish exports.

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