The latest release from the Central Statistics Office shows a decline again in Ireland’s export numbers.

In November 2023, there was a decrease of almost €600m on November 2022 and exports were down almost €2bn on October. This is a worrying trend as exports were significantly down month on month in August and September, while increasing in October. Now however we are seeing a continuation of the decline. Exports are down 5% (€183bn) on the first 11 months of the year.
This is most likely due to the well documented reductions in the Global Trade World due to ongoing Geo-Political issues.
On a positive note exports to GB grew by 11% to €1.7bn in November 2023 compared to November 2022 and a good trend here is the increase in the exports of chemicals and related products by 11% while exports of food and live animals continue to grow.
Larger declines in certain sectors are largely driven by reductions in global trade, especially in organic chemicals and related products exported to the US, along with a continued substantial reductions in exports of Semiconductors to China. 
Overall exports of Organic Chemicals reduced by €572million (-25%) compared to November 2022.
The organic chemicals sector, crucial in vaccine manufacturing, is contracting as we know with the reduction in global demand for COVID-19 vaccines decreases. However, as previously noted there is strong potential for growth with large new inward investment projects in process. 

However we did see an increase of 2% in the exports of Medical and Pharmaceutical Products in November 2023 as opposed to November 2022.
These sector-specific issues highlight Ireland's dependence on global events. 
Additionally, and one to watch - the upcoming border procedures at the Great Britain border in early 2024 present challenges for Irish exporters, particularly in the food sector. It's imperative for Irish food exporters to remain vigilant and prepare for these changes to sustain trade momentum. While exports have continued to trade upwards this will be one of the biggest concerns for 2024.

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Carol Lynch

Tax Partner & Head of Customs and International Trade Services, BDO Dublin
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