MERCHANDISE EXPORTS INCREASED by three per cent in the year to the end of February, new figures released by the CSO show.
Merchandise exports for last month showed a €168 million increase to €6.78 billion. The figures combined with a decrease in seasonally-adjusted imports of €69 million, or two per cent, to push the trade surplus increased up by €127 million.
The trade surplus now stands at €3.21 billion.
The major drivers of the growth in exports across the year were food and live animals, essential oils and organic chemicals. The main target markets for Irish-manufactured goods were the EU, accounting for 55 per cent, and the United States (22 per cent)
Figures for February also show a month-on-month increase of €57 million.
Welcoming the figures, Táiniste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamonn Gilmore said:
Following on from the ESRI’s forecast of 3.5 per cent growth in GNP (Gross National Product) this year, today’s trade figures are a further signal that the Irish economy is well on the road to recovery.
Separately, the CSO also released figures showing the government debt fell to 7.2 per cent of gross domestic product in 2013, marginally better than the targeted reduction by 0.1 per cent.
The main driver of the deficit reduction was an increase of €2.2 billion in government revenue.