Pharmaceutical export volatility weighs on the February figures.

Carol Lynch, Partner & Head of Customs and International Trade Services, featured in The Irish Times and The Irish Independent with her commentary on latest trade numbers from CSO.  Read Carol's full commentary below.

Whilst the headline figure may look alarming with the decrease in value of exports of €500M relative to January 2024, when the fall in the value of pharmaceuticals is stripped out, it points to quite a strong export performance by the Irish economy.

Interestingly, the value of exports for the first two months of 2024 was 8% higher relative to the same period in 2023.

Of particular interest with the implementation of the first tranche of UK border checks upon Irish food exports to Great Britain the value of exports of Irish Agri-Food produce has remained relatively stable demonstrating that the Irish Agri-food sector has coped remarkably well with the increased trade friction. This is testament to the effort the sector has made in preparing for these checks.

Further border-check requirements will be introduced by the British authorities on the 30th of April of this year and it will be interesting to see how the Irish Agri-Food  export sector continues to adapt to the evolving arrangements at the UK border.

Outlook for months ahead

The past few weeks has seen a number of bodies and think tanks release commentaries on the health of the Irish and/or global economies.

Opinion is converging that due to inflation weakening throughout the world, the space now exists for Central banks around the world to reduce interest rates, and this should stimulate demand in Ireland’s main export markets. However, global geopolitical developments present significant downside risks to projected growth.

  • Elsewhere, following on from the buoyant export figures reported in January, the Irish Pharma sector has lost some momentum with the value of exports down €2.54bn month on month/year and year.
  • Exports of semiconductor equipment, which had fallen in value due to geopolitical factors is still trying to establish a baseline figure and has sustained a further fall off in export orders of the order of €107M month on month.
  • Overall, the value of exports to GB decreased by €336M month on month/year on year. Trade with Northern Ireland has remained broadly stable.
  • Trade with the EU has increased by €28M month on month/year on year.
  • Trade with China decreased by € 150M month on month/year on year
  • Trade with the USA decreased by €2.42Bn month on month/year on year
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