Irish exports in November 2015 fell by over €1.1bn in the month but were still higher than November 2014, allaying concerns for the time being about the country’s exceptional trading performance.
The outlook for world growth has darkened considerably since late last year, as doubts about the outlook for China’s economy resurface.
Fears the world is heading into recession have been reflected in the dramatic falls for world stock markets in the first few weeks of January, reminding investors of the Chinese market rout that rocked stock markets across the world last summer.
However, the CSO figures published yesterday showed seasonally adjusted exports totalled almost €9.14bn in November — up by over €1.7bn from November 2014.
Irish exporters have also seen some erosion in the favourable currency conditions and the weak euro that last year helped propel their exports into Britain.
Sterling has fallen sharply since the start of the year and was trading at one stage yesterday at 76.03 pence against the euro, down almost 1% in the day.
Sterling is now 3% lower against the euro since the start of 2016.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan summed it up, telling reporters earlier this month that the Government was watchful about China even though Ireland was not a directly a large trading partner with the Asian giant.
Ireland however did a lot of trade with countries who in turn do a lot of business with China, he said.
That said, the CSO figures show that Irish-based firms exported €2.1bn of goods to China, Hong Kong, and Macao in the first 11 months of 2015, up from €1.95bn in the same period in 2014.
Chinese exports therefore accounted for almost 2.5% of all Irish exports of €84.4bn in the January to end of November period.
Over the same period, Ireland imported €4bn in goods from China, up sharply from the €3.1bn in imports a year ago. Most categories of exports showed rises in the January to November period from a year earlier.
The exceptions included exports of live animals, dairy products, tobacco, hides, crude fertilisers, scrap metals, inorganic chemicals, paper, non-ferrous metals, power-generating equipment, and prefabricated buildings.
On imports, the CSO said that road vehicles in November rose by 43% to €401m in November 2015 from November 2014.
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