Trade surplus widens to €3.28bn in October

Data just released by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office show that the seasonally adjusted trade balance widened to €3.3bn in October from September’s €2.9bn. During the month exports increased by 2% from September’s outturn, while imports were 7% lower.

The main point of interest in this release will be around chemicals exports, given concerns about the potential impact of the ‘patent cliff’. Industrial production data pointed to an improvement in that segment during October, and today’s release confirms this. Exports of ‘Chemicals and Related Products’ were 3.3% higher m/m (exports of Organic Chemicals were +5.6% m/m). However, on an annual basis they are 6% lower compared to the outturn for October 2011. That said, total exports in the year to date in that segment are only 1.1% below year-earlier levels.

Overall, in the first 10 months of 2012 exports are +1.3% y/y, imports +1.9% y/y while the year-to-date trade surplus, at €35.7bn, is +0.7%. This is an impressive outturn given the pressures being experienced in many of Ireland’s key trading partners. Indeed, we note that total exports to the UK are +10% in the year to date, while exports to the eurozone are +2.5% over the same period. In contrast, exports to the US are -14% over the same timeframe.

Philip O’Sullivan, Chief Economist, NCB Stockbrokers Limited,