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Irish exports to the UK have grown a lot in spite of ongoing Brexit uncertainty

Total goods exports to the UK increased by €166 million and amounted to a total €1.2 billion.

Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland!

IRISH GOODS EXPORTS have increased by over €2 billion – including a 16% increase in exports to the UK – despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, latest CSO figures show. 

The data released by the Central Statistics Office for February 2019 shows goods exports to the UK, which is Ireland’s largest trading partner within the EU, increased by €166 million in February – representing a 16% increase on the same month last year. 

Total goods exports to the UK amounted to €1.2 billion, driven largely by mineral fuels such as peat and natural gases, along with lubricants and related materials. 

Exports to Britain account for 10% of total goods exported from the Republic of Ireland.

Meanwhile, imports from the UK also increased by €265 million to €1.6 billion – an increase of 19% compared to February 2018.

A spokesperson for the Irish Exporters Association said businesses were acutely aware of the need to grow their exports in other markets outside the UK in light of Brexit, despite the latest increases. 

“Companies are already massively diversifying and looking for new markets, it just takes a while before that will show in statistics,” he said. 

“The UK is a significant market but a lot of companies are looking at other countries in the EU – Germany, France, Spain – to that extent because of Brexit.

They also said they would “expect a decrease” in exports to the UK this time next year with “other countries’ exports to increase”. 

Worldwide

Overall, the seasonally adjusted figure for exports decreased by €604 million – or 4% – to €13.2 billion, while seasonally adjusted figures for imports increased by 4% to €6.9 billion. 

Ireland continues to operate a trade surplus – exporting more than it imports – to a value of €6.2 billion. 

Europe remained the largest trading partner for the month of February 2019, accounting for €6.1 billion worth of total goods exports, with Belgium and Germany being the main countries of destination after the UK – worth €1.6 billion and €939 million respectively.

The USA was the main non-EU destination accounting for €3.7 billion of total exports in February 2019.

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