Goods imports and exports hit record levels in March as post-Brexit trade recovers


Irish exports and imports of goods reached their highest level on record in March, the Central Statistics Office said.

The figures also show a rebound in trade with the UK after a Brexit-related slump in early 2021 and a continued upswing in trade with Northern Ireland.

Unadjusted merchandise exports hit a record €20.2 billion (seasonally adjusted €18.4 billion) in March, driven by a 63 percent rise in medical and pharmaceutical sales, which accounted for about half of all exports for the month.

Exports of chemicals, machinery and food, and live animals also saw double-digit growth this month.

Unadjusted imports of goods reached a record €11 billion (€9.7 billion seasonally adjusted) in March, driven by a sharp rise in fuel and machinery imports.

The value of fuel imports increased by 112 percent (or 538 million euros) compared to March 2021, while organic chemicals increased by 177 percent (or 1.2 billion euros). The value of machine imports has also more than doubled.

Trade with the UK rebounded from the 2021 lows, with imports from England, Scotland and Wales posting a 39 per cent increase in March compared to March 2021 – up €540m to €1.9bn.

The biggest increase was the increase in the value of fuel imports from the UK.

Imports from the UK rose 78 percent (or 2.3 billion euros) to 5.2 billion euros in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2021, while exports rose 26 percent to 3.8 billion euros rose.

Imports were lower last year due to the launch of the EU-UK trade deal, which added additional customs documentation and controls for imports.

Imports from the UK accounted for 17 per cent of the value of total imports in March 2022.

Exports to the UK rose 13 percent year-on-year in March, up 162 million euros to 1.4 billion euros, thanks to higher chemical sales.

The EU accounted for 35 per cent of total Irish exports of goods in March, up 24 per cent from March 2021, and 27 per cent of total imports of goods, down 6 per cent from March 2021.

The US was the top non-EU destination for Irish goods, accounting for 37 per cent of total exports as of March 2022.

“In March 2022, Ireland’s unadjusted goods exports exceeded 20 billion euros for the first time in a month,” said CSO statistician Ciarán Counihan. “Imports topped 11 billion euros in March, also for the first time on record.

“The increases in goods exports were mainly driven by growth in exports of medical and pharmaceutical products and organic chemicals.

“It should be noted that the large growth rate of imports from the UK is partly explained by the relatively low level of imports in March 2021.

“March 2021 was the third month that customs documents were required to trade with the UK, impacting our trade with the UK.” Goods imports and exports hit record levels in March as post-Brexit trade recovers

Fry Electronics Team

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