Ireland recorded a seasonally-adjusted merchandise trade surplus of €2,538m in November, €458m lower than October’s revised surplus of €2,996m (€2,971m). The November surplus was the lowest recorded since August 2008. Seasonally-adjusted exports were down 4.5% in the month while imports posted an increase of 3.0%, its second rise in a row, which may reflect stronger consumer demand. <p>

Meanwhile, on an unadjusted basis there was a surplus of €3,333m in November, €942m lower than the surplus of €4,275m posted in November 2012. The cumulative trade surplus in the first eleven months of 2013 was €35,121m, €5,354m lower than the total surplus of €40,475m in the same period of the previous year.<p>

There are signs now that the world economy (including the key markets of the United States, Eurozone and UK) is starting to recover, which augurs well for Irish exports in the coming months. This should to some degree help offset the negative drag from the patents expiry issue on certain pharmaceutical products.<p>

<b>We now think the overall merchandide trade surplus in 2013 will total €37bn, down from €42.5bn in 2012. Meanwhile, exports of goods and services are forecast to be around 0.5% lower in volume terms. However, on the basis of stronger global demand in 2014, we are looking for a recovery in export performance, with a volume increase this year of 3.0%.

<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>


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