The latest figures show that despite ongoing concerns due to the collapse in value of sterling relative to the euro, Irish exports to the UK continued to grow relatively strongly in the first half of the year.
In the first half of 2017, the value of Irish exports grew by 7% year on year (yoy). Of the major export categories, food and live animals was the standout performer, where the value of exports grew by 14% yoy.
Furthermore, a surge in exports of dairy, mainly due to strong prices, was the main contributor to this performance and comes in spite of concerns of the impact of the ending of milk quotas in 2015. Chemicals and pharma exports also continued to grow strongly in H1, up 9% yoy. In value terms, this sector dominates Irish exports, accounting for c.60% of the total.
The figures also show that on a geographical basis, the most notable growth has been in exports to the UK, which grew by 8% yoy. Chemicals/pharma was the major contributor to this performance, with exports of food and live animals also growing.
According to Goodbody Stockbrokers, "Although the export performance to the UK is to be welcomed, with the UK’s exit from the EU little more than eighteen months away, there are obvious threats on the horizon. As we noted yesterday, while the proposals being laid out by the UK (including today’s proposals on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) are welcome, they are unlikely to be accepted by the EU side. Significant challenges still remain for Irish exporters."