Exports fall by almost €800m in February

Fall-off was driven by €1.4bn (38%) drop in exports of organic chemicals, CSO latest trade numbers show

The value of Irish goods exports dropped by almost €800 million in February, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The (unadjusted) value of exports fell by €777 million or 5 per cent to €15.9 billion in February compared with the same month last year, the CSO said. The fall-off was driven by a €1.4 billion (38 per cent) drop in exports of organic chemicals.

The CSO has traditionally played down the importance of month-on-month trends given the inherent volatility of the State’s big pharma industry which accounts for up to 60 per cent of all Irish goods exports.

The latest figures indicated that exports for January and February were 8 per cent higher at almost €35 billion compared with the same two months last year.


The (unadjusted) value of goods imports fell by €1.1 billion or 10 per cent to €10 billion in February compared with February 2023.

The auto-enrolment pension scheme seems good on paper, but how will it actually work?

Listen | 32:34

This was partly driven by 34 per cent drop in imports from Britain to €1.4 billion, with the largest falls reported in imports of chemicals and related products and mineral fuels. The latter reflects the decline in fuel prices internationally.

Exports to Britain were down by 5 per cent in February year-on-year.

“This decline is unsurprising as these figures incorporate the first month of newly-introduced UK customs controls on all goods imported into Britain from Ireland,” said Janette Maxwell, director in tax at Grant Thornton. “This points to the enhanced difficulties experienced by Irish traders when selling goods into Britain where the Irish trader is commercially responsible for clearing the goods in Britain.”

Further border-check requirements will be introduced by the British authorities at the end of the month.

“It will be interesting to see how the Irish agri-food export sector continues to adapt to the evolving arrangements at the UK border,” said Carol Lynch, partner in the BDO Customs and International Trade Services department.

The EU accounted for €7.1 billion (45 per cent) of total Irish goods exports in February, of which €2 billion went to the Netherlands, €1.7 billion went to Germany and €1 billion went to Belgium. The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for €4.2 billion (26 per cent) of total exports in February.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times