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Exports in November up by 9pc on previous year

The dip in exports for October was short-lived – as the trade surplus reached its highest level ever in November 2011.

Image: Acutance via Flickr

IRELAND’S TRADE SURPLUS reached its highest level on record in November, as the value of exports returned to its previous highs while the volume of imports declined.

Ireland imported just over €3.7 billion of goods and services in November – down by €235 million from October – while its exports broke the €8 billion barrier for only the second time, up from €7.67 billion in October to €8.02 billion in November.

As a result, Ireland’s trade surplus stood at €4.31 billion – the highest it has been since the CSO began scraping such data.

The news, which has been welcomed by the government, will ease fears of a slump in the export sector, after figures from October showed a worrying slump in exports for that month.

The volume of exports in November 2011 was up by 9 per cent on the same month last year, while the value of imports was also up, though only by 2 per cent.

A breakdown of exports by sector showed that the exports of organic chemicals had grown by 11 per cent, while medical and pharmaceutical exports had grown by 8 per cent and dairy products by 28 per cent. Exports of computer equipment fell by 11 per cent, however.

Exports to the USA grew by 3 per cent, to France by 14 per cent, and to Britain by 4 per cent. In the first ten months of the year, the USA (23 per cent), Belgium (15 per cent) and Britain (14 per cent) were Ireland’s main markets.

Jobs minister Richard Bruton said the figures bolstered confidence in Ireland, and came a week after Eurostat said Ireland had had the second-biggest trade surplus in the EU behind only Germany.

“As I have said before, a strong export performance will be crucial to achieving the economic and jobs recovery we are all working so hard for,” he said.

Today’s figures were “particularly encouraging”, he added, given how exports are dependant on a strong eurozone which has seen its own economic growth begin to stagnate in recent months.

Chambers Ireland welcomed the figures, but warned that Ireland’s economic recovery could not come solely from increased exports, but rather a recovery in domestic demand.

“Government has made a lot of announcements recently of its intentions to introduce a partial loan guarantee scheme and labour market reforms. We now need real focus on execution and delivery of these initiatives,” said chief executive Ian Talbot.

Ireland the only EU country where business sentiment is up

Record levels of Irish exports in 2011 – Enterprise Ireland

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Gavan Reilly

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