May 2022 CSO Monthly Import and Export Figures

David Savage, Senior Manager, Customs and International Trade Services provides commentary on the recent CSO trade figures published for May 2022.

This week, the CSO published the trade figures for the month of May. These figures continue to show that the Irish economy is trading strongly despite the many economic headwinds.

The seasonally adjusted figure for imports in the month of May was up 3% relative to April to €12.163 billion. The value of imports of specialised machinery, hydrocarbons fuels and lubricants and organic chemicals all recorded big increases relative to 2021.

While the seasonally adjusted figure for imports strengthened by 1% to €17.901 billion, the value of scientific equipment and food/live animals both recorded year on year (YoY) increases of 33% and 28% respectively. Of particular note was the huge increase in the value of pharmaceutical exports which expanded by 63% YoY. This sector alone accounted for 39% of total exports from Ireland in May 2022.

Trade between Ireland and Great Britain (GB)

Despite Brexit, GB remains an affluent and heavily populated country and will continue to be a key trading partner for Ireland. Trade between Ireland and GB would appear to have stabilised following large fall in the value of trade in the immediate aftermath of the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Year to date, the value of imports from GB have increased by €1.67 billion when compared with the same timeframe in 2021. This perhaps suggests that traders on both sides of the Irish sea have got to grips with the complexities associated with trading across a customs border. Hydrocarbon fuels and lubricants (€3.02 billion), chemicals (€1.85 billion) and machinery account (€1.58 billion) make up a large proportion of the €9.27 billion in GB imports year to date.

GB was the destination for 8% of total exports from Ireland in May 2022. The value of exports from Ireland to GB increased by 27% or €319 million YoY. Chemicals and related products and machinery accounted for the bulk of the goods exported from Ireland to GB in the year to date.

Trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland (NI)

Trade between Ireland and NI continues to grow rapidly with the value of imports from NI growing by 23% while exports from Ireland to NI expanded by 42%.

Trade between Ireland and the USA

The year to date has also marked a big increase in the level of trade between Ireland and the USA with imports increasing by €1.13 billion to €7.90 billion and exports increasing by €7.29 billon to €28.49 billion.

Trade between Ireland and the European Union (EU)

Overall, the EU remains Ireland’s largest trading partner in terms of value. Currently Ireland enjoyed a trade surplus with its EU partners. Imports in the period from January to May are valued at €15.77 billion = representing a €1.87 billion increase relative to 2021.

Exports for the same time period grew by €7.72 billion to €32.94 billion.  37.37% of all goods that leave Ireland are sold within the EU. Though increases in exports have been recorded across nearly all sectors of the economy, most of this increase in exports is accounted for by trade in chemicals and related products.

The trade figures with Russia suggest that the war in Ukraine and the EU sanctions are having a real effect on levels of trade. Imports have slumped by 58% while exports to Russia have decreased by 49% relative to the same period in 2021.

Should you wish to discuss any issues related to Customs and International Trade, our team of experts would be delighted to assist you. Please contact David Savage ( or Carol Lynch ( to find out more.

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