IRELAND’S TRADE SURPLUS recovered in January after tumbling in December, as the value of Irish exports once again rose.
New figures published by the Central Statistics Office show that the value of Irish exports rose to €7.684 billion last month, having fallen to just over €7 billion in December.
Those export figures remain relatively low compared to November’s, however, when exports stood at €8.845 billion.
The €644 million increase in exports offsets a €390 million rise in the value of imports to Ireland, which stood at €4.439 billion last month. The trade surplus – the excess of exports over imports – stood at €3.25 billion, up from just under €3 billion in December.
The confirmed figures for December show a marked drop on what had already been envisaged as a poor month, with exports actually down by around half a billion euro more than had been estimated in original figures published last month.
That fall could indicate further struggles ahead, as the Irish export sector – seen as a key part of any economic recovery – began to feel the effects of larger economies on continental Europe sliding back into recession.
In spite of the drop off in the last months of the year, however, Irish exports reached reached an all-time record for 2011 – with firms exporting €92.9 billion of goods and services to other countries.
Imports stood at €48.2 billion, up by 5.4 per cent on 2010, but well down from the all-time record from 2007 when Ireland imported €63.5 billion of goods and services.
Enterprise minister Richard Bruton said the figures followed Eurostat data which showed Ireland had the third largest trade surplus of any Eurozone country, in absolute terms, last year. Only Germany and the Netherlands had a larger surplus.
Speaking from San Francisco, he said the government had “consistently pointed out that a strong export performance will be crucial to achieving the economic and jobs recovery we are all working so hard for”.
“The strong performance of our exports in 2011 confirms the potential for a wider recovery in the economy.”