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Slide in pharmaceutical sales drives a nine per cent drop in exports

There was a decline of €703 million in the year up to June – driven largely by the drop in pharma sales, as patents for major drugs expire.

Image: pharmaceutical factory worker via Shutterstock

THE VALUE OF Irish exports decreased by 9 per cent in the 12 months up to June of this year, according to the latest stats from the Central Statistics Office – a drop of €703 million to €7,362 million.

The largest drops were in the export of organic chemicals (down by €376 million or 24 per cent) and medical and pharmaceutical products (down €284 million or 12 per cent).

The trend is largely in line with last week’s estimates from the Irish Exporters Association, which predicted exports would fall by 1.6 per cent over the course of the year.

Much of the decrease is coming from a slide in pharmaceutical sales as many major patents, such as the world’s most popular drug Lipitor, expire.

Pharmaceuticals and chemicals continued their trend of dropping in the last 12 months, with an 8 per cent contraction of sales in the January to June period. The sector still accounts for 60 per cent of the total goods exports from Ireland, and dominates the manufacturing sector.

The CSO figures released today also show an increase in seasonally adjusted exports of €85 million (one per cent) to €7,150 million from May to June of this year. Year-on-year, the exports of dairy products increased by €55 million (33 per cent).

The EU accounted for 61 per cent of total exports in June, while the USA was the main non-EU destination, accounting for 21 per cent of the total.

As regards imports, there was a year-on-year drop of €9 million to €3,971. The largest decrease was a drop of 40 per cent in the import of organic chemicals and a drop of 66 per cent in the category of ‘other transport equipment’, which includes aircraft.

The EU was the source of 64 per cent of the value of imports in June 2013, with 30 per cent coming from Britain.

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