Irish exporters are set to see increased competition this year, but overall growth is still expected to amount to around 7%.
“It will be difficult to increase and actually maintain market share in an ever-more competitive environment, even with the benefit of a weaker euro, though Irish exporters should continue to perform well on a relative basis,” said Alan McQuaid, chief economist with Merrion Stockbrokers.
“Although not as strong as 2014, we still see Irish exporst of goods and services rising by a healthy 7%, in volume terms, this year.”
Mr McQuaid was speaking on the back of the release of new CSO figures showing a 4% monthly reduction in Irish export value in November to €7.03bn.
Coupled with a 2% increase in seasonally adjusted imports for the month to €4.72bn, Ireland’s trade surplus fell by 21% in November to just over €2.3bn.
On a year-on-year basis, export value in November decreased by €273m, or 4%, to €7.46bn. There was a decrease in the export of organic chemicals but a healthy rise in that of medical and pharmaceutical products.
“The overall trade surplus in the first 11 months of last year amounted to €32.467bn; €2.3bn lower than the cumulative surplus of €34.77bn recorded in the same period of the previous year,” said Mr Quaid.
“But the overall performance of goods and services in the first three quarters of 2014 was strong, up 11.9% in volume terms. Indeed, merchandise export growth exceeded that of servies in the period.”
Mr Quaid also warned that caution should be exercised.
“However, with signs that the world economy is starting to struggle again, particularly the eurozone, there are doubts as to whether Irish manufacturing exprots will do as well in the coming quarters,” he said.
“The weak euro will be clearly beneficial for a huge exporting country like Ireland, as will the close trading ties with both the US and the UK; two of the better performers on the global economic stage in 2014.
“Against that, the deterioration in the overall euroland outlook will take some of the shine off Irish export growth.”
The latest CSO figures show that the EU accounted for 57% of Irish exports in November, with the US being the main non-European destination for exports with a 22% share, representing a value of nearly €1.7bn.
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