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Ireland records its highest ever trade surplus

Ireland’s trade surplus hit its highest level in June as exports rose by almost 6 per cent.

File photo of goods' containers in Dublin Docks
File photo of goods' containers in Dublin Docks

IRELAND’S TRADE SURPLUS hit a record high of €4.079 billion in June, according to new data from the Central Statistics Office.

External trade figures show that the seasonally adjusted  trade surplus increased by 8 per cent to €4.079 billion in June.

The non-seasonally adjusted trade surplus in June was €4.47 billion, comprising exports of €8.34 billion and imports of €3.87 billion.

The value of exports in the month was up 5.6 per cent, when compared with June 2010.

Country-by-country breakdown

CSO figures for the first five months of the year reveal that exports have increased by 6 per cent to €38.6 billion. More than half of these exports went to either the US, Belgium or the UK.

There was a substantial increase in exports to the US and European Union Member States, according to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Notably, exports to Spain fell by a significant 16 per cent, or €239m. However, this was offset somewhat by a 95 per cent growth in exports to the Czech Republic, which totalled €235m during the five-month period. There was also a 25 per cent rise in exports to Sweden.

Imports to Ireland also increased between January and end-May 2011. Almost half of the country’s €21.1 billion imports came from either the UK or US.

However, there is a rising number of goods coming from China with the CSO noting a 17 per cent, or €156m, increase.

Breaking down the figures further, the CSO said there was also large jump in the exportation of dairy products, which were up 47 per cent. Overall food exports grew by more than 19 per cent to €3.1 billion, while the exportation of medical and pharmaceutical products also increased.

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Commenting on the figures, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton said exports are continuing to perform at an “extremely high level”.

He was particularly pleased with the increase in exports to “dynamic, emerging economies” such as Brazil, India and South Korea, where a Free Trade Agreement was put in place at the start of July.

Bruton added:

These are very welcome trends and show that Irish business is rising to the challenge of seeking out new markets and winning new business. These figures emphasise both the importance of trade to the economy and its potential to be a significant contributor to recovery.

Business group IBEC also welcomed the figures, stating that they proved Ireland’s export-led economic recovery “remains on track”.

“The highly open nature of the Irish economy means that exports are making a substantially higher contribution to GDP and economic recovery than in most other countries,” said the organisation’s head of trade, Pat Ivory.

Ireland has the third largest trade surplus of all the 27 EU Member States, according to Eurostat.

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