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CSO statistical release, 13 February 2015, 11am

Goods Exports and Imports

December 2014

€ million
Jan-Dec 201386,99950,02536,974
Jan-Dec 201489,07453,59035,484
% change+2.4%+7.1%-4.0%
Seasonally adjusted
October 20147,5494,6452,904
November 20147,0334,7552,278
December 20148,7974,5554,242

Goods exports and imports increased in 2014

Goods Exports and Imports
go to full release

Preliminary figures for 2014 indicate an increase in the value of exports of €2,075 million (+2%) to €89,074 million from 2013. Imports increased by €3,565 million (+7%) to €53,590 million resulting in a 4% decrease in the trade surplus to €35,484 million (see Table 1). 

Exports of Medical and pharmaceutical products up in 2014

• Exports of Medical and pharmaceutical products increased by €973 million (+5%) to €22,268 million in 2014 while exports of Organic chemicals decreased by €423 million (-2%) to €18,166 million.

• Chemicals and related products were 58% of the value of 2014 exports.

• In 2014, the United States (22%), Great Britain (13%), Belgium (13%) and Germany (7%) were Ireland’s main export markets, accounting for 55% of the value of exports.


Highest annual imports since 2008

• In 2014 the value of imports was €53,590 million which is the highest level of annual imports since 2008 (€57,585 million).

• Comparing 2014 with 2013, imports of Machinery and transport equipment increased by €2,142 million (+17%) to €14,483 million and Miscellaneous manufactured articles increased by €715 million (+12%) to €6,834 million.

• Machinery and transport equipment (27%) and Chemicals and related products (21%) were the main import sectors in 2014.

• In 2014, Great Britain (30%), the United States (11%), Germany (8%) and China (6%) accounted for 55% of the value of imports.

Preliminary figures for December 2014 show seasonally adjusted exports of €8,797 million, up 25% on November 2014 and seasonally adjusted imports of €4,555 million, down 4% on November 2014. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus was €4,242 million in December 2014 (see Table 2).

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Table 1 Goods Exports and Imports summary analysis    
PeriodValueVolume index1Unit value index1 
ExportsImportsTrade surplusBase year 1990=100
€m€m€mExportsImportsExportsImportsTerms of trade2
1990 18,20415,8322,372100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
1991 19,07016,3172,753105.6100.899.3102.397.0
1992 21,26016,7544,506121.1105.696.6100.296.4
1993 25,17918,9006,279133.4113.0103.9105.498.6
1994 28,89121,9456,946153.2127.9103.8108.196.0
1995 35,33026,1819,149184.0146.3105.7112.793.7
1996 38,60928,47910,130202.2160.9105.1111.494.3
1997 44,86832,86312,004232.4184.8106.3112.094.9
1998 57,32239,71517,607289.2218.3109.1114.695.2
1999 66,95644,32722,629336.5236.5109.5118.092.8
2001 92,69057,38435,306422.0274.2120.9131.891.7
2002 93,67555,62838,047435.1276.6118.5126.793.5
2003 82,07647,86534,212418.4259.7108.0116.193.0
2004 84,41051,10533,304446.5283.6104.0113.591.7
2005 86,73257,46529,267456.7316.3104.5114.491.3
2006 86,77260,85725,915458.0325.2104.4117.788.7
2007 89,22663,48625,741481.8340.9101.9117.386.9
2008 86,39457,58528,810484.5300.598.0119.781.9
2009 85,80445,06140,742468.4249.298.9113.986.8
2010 89,70345,76443,940485.5241.3101.2119.284.9
2011 91,22848,30242,925507.9240.899.7126.478.8
2012 91,68849,14642,542479.1231.9105.8133.779.2
201489,07453,59035,484 . . . . . . . . . .
2013Quarter 121,43412,4938,941449.9236.9104.8132.878.9
 Quarter 222,03212,2249,808459.3232.7105.6132.379.8
 Quarter 321,91512,0399,875465.1229.0103.8132.578.4
 Quarter 421,61913,2708,349461.0252.1102.8131.478.2
2014Quarter 121,25413,4147,840454.3253.2103.1133.577.2
 Quarter 222,79913,1709,629490.6249.8102.3132.877.0
 Quarter 322,20613,0189,189467.5246.6104.5133.078.6
 Quarter 422,81513,9888,827473.3267.4106.1131.880.5
1 Monthly data have been rescaled to make their average equal to the annual.   
2 Export unit value index divided by Import unit value index.
3 Revised, see background notes.
4 December 2014 is based on current Intrastat response levels, see background notes.
 . . Indices are not yet available.
Table 2 Goods Exports and Imports seasonally adjusted1 series
PeriodValueVolume index
ExportsImportsTrade surplusBase year 2010=100
2014Quarter 121,80714,4487,359 102.0  124.2
 Quarter 223,18314,8348,349 105.1  128.0
 Quarter 323,36916,2647,105 104.0  134.1
 Quarter 424,62416,8047,820 105.5  138.8
2015Quarter 126,28616,06210,224 112.0  130.9
 Quarter 228,46017,27111,189 112.9  134.8
 Quarter 327,21117,6129,599 113.7  143.5
 Quarter 430,82319,20511,618 125.8  167.6
2016Quarter 127,86616,66011,206 119.7  149.6
 Quarter 229,75919,07510,684 126.5  161.3
 Quarter 330,22119,04211,178 125.7  161.2
 Quarter 431,01019,26211,749 129.0  159.6
2017Quarter 132,94118,39114,550 139.2  152.2
 Quarter 230,25320,8959,358 133.7  183.0
 Quarter 329,27018,30110,969 135.2  158.8
 Quarter 430,01219,53610,476 144.3  165.9
2014January7,2734,7132,560 102.9  121.7
 February7,4154,6122,803 104.2  117.9
 March7,1195,1231,996 99.0  133.0
 April7,0804,5722,508 100.6  123.0
 May8,1715,2642,907 109.9  134.6
 June7,9324,9982,934 104.8  126.4
 July6,9515,5911,360 92.7  140.2
 August8,3885,3843,004 113.3  131.3
 September8,0305,2892,741 105.9  130.7
 October7,8735,5092,364 100.2  135.3
 November7,4085,7991,609 94.1  144.6
 December9,3435,4963,848 122.2  136.4
2015January8,6415,0073,633 110.1  126.5
 February8,9665,3163,650 115.2  130.5
 March8,6795,7392,941 110.6  135.6
 April9,7405,6784,061 117.7  129.0
 May9,3765,8873,489 107.8  133.7
 June9,3455,7063,639 113.3  141.7
 July9,0766,1022,974 113.6  147.5
 August9,1505,7253,425 117.8  137.4
 September8,9865,7863,200 109.6  145.7
 October10,8206,2504,570 128.0  165.5
 November9,5216,1083,413 120.4  158.1
 December10,4826,8463,635 129.0  179.1
2016January9,4495,0844,365 127.0  145.3
 February8,9445,5203,424 108.7  143.8
 March9,4736,0563,417 123.3  159.6
 April9,8755,7124,163 125.3  148.7
 May9,6436,5033,140 124.8  167.8
 June10,2416,8603,381 129.4  167.4
 July9,2026,1883,014 118.3  156.8
 August 10,6985,9784,720 132.1  155.2
 September10,3216,8763,444 126.7  171.6
 October10,3565,7914,565 130.1  144.4
 November10,4206,8483,572 130.0  171.3
 December10,2346,6233,612 127.0  163.1
2017January10,7745,6025,172 131.9  139.4
 February11,1236,7184,405 142.9  166.2
 March11,0446,0714,973 142.9  151.1
 April9,8607,0972,763 128.9  178.8
 May10,5467,0193,527 137.5  187.7
 June9,8476,7793,068 134.6  182.6
 July9,7165,6394,077 125.6  146.3
 August9,6906,3143,376 133.4  163.9
 September9,8636,3483,515 146.6  166.2
 October9,7276,3793,349 138.4  167.7
 November9,8016,5233,278 138.4  163.8
 December10,4846,6343,849 156.0  166.3
1 Based on seasonal patterns up to December 2016. Accordingly all values in this table may have been revised.
Table 3 Goods Exports and Imports classified by commodity1 
SITC (Rev 4)ExportsImports
0Food and live animals8088198,7349,3225465566,0336,152
00Live animals other than animals of Division 0381494323985768217249
01Meat and meat preparations2853423,0053,3247474812860
02Dairy products and birds' eggs1551361,8821,8356261644764
03Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof48474815251921211233
04Cereals and cereal preparations252929635195781,005960
05Vegetables and fruit182124026086881,0261,036
06Sugars, sugar preparations and honey581161072429387367
07Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof22253763493539417446
08Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)25232502386257899772
09Miscellaneous edible products and preparations1431391,6571,9353241415463
1Beverages and tobacco921031,1741,1447776823833
11Beverages 89971,0901,0727471733746
12Tobacco and tobacco manufactures468471459087
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels1311511,7321,8015163672724
21Hides, skins and furskins, raw12141451640000
22Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits 21119323126
23Crude rubber (incl. synthetic and reclaimed) 0034111517
24Cork and wood79122154613100127
25Pulp and waste paper345361544749
26Textile fibres and their wastes89141133121921
27Crude fertilisers and minerals (excl. coal, petroleum and precious stones)71013514378113115
28Metalliferous ores and metal scrap83881,0161,0241619188203
29Crude animal and vegetable materials nes9151061091114159166
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials44378238265383826,8866,474
32Coal, coke and briquettes447680217219164
33Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials39287217093732575,0224,950
34Gas, natural and manufactured1119191391121,5761,282
35Electric current04618566978
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes4552631816235217
41Animal oils and fats354253111314
42Fixed vegetable fats and oils11871514199185
43Animal or vegetable fats and oils, processed; waxes0022212318
5Chemicals and related products3,3744,29650,39451,59388692010,87311,396
51Organic chemicals1,4641,37718,58918,1662111912,5483,018
52Inorganic chemicals1581971681423209206
53Dyeing, tanning and colouring materials691501171215183198
54Medical and pharmaceutical products1,2052,11321,29522,2683564024,4994,476
55Essential oils; perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preparations4225096,2506,9461001071,0841,126
56Fertilisers (other than those of Division 27)00335434472415
57Plastics in primary forms18283123366056804817
58Plastics in non-primary forms29303914213740460509
59Chemical materials and products nes2142233,2073,1684153613632
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material1261321,7111,8522933273,8764,208
61Leather; leather manufactures nes; dressed furskins122735111719
62Rubber manufactures nes4464681720274293
63Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)16152422401015160200
64Paper, paperboard and articles thereof11111521526667819826
65Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products9151391582634330406
66Non-metallic mineral manufactures nes20252923513035389428
67Iron and steel8101191393440508584
68Non-ferrous metals5564754544557551
69Manufactures of metals nes52446116356370824901
7Machinery and transport equipment1,0501,06910,4949,9811,2531,56612,34114,483
71Power generating machinery and equipment61378094665042787604
72Machinery specialised for particular industries47435636692371931,2752,164
73Metalworking machinery2222265127093
74General industrial machinery and equipment nes and parts nes1131471,4281,5551031241,2181,395
75Office machines and automatic data processing machines5205164,0193,8092623342,8483,077
76Telecommunications and sound equipment64746727651331541,1271,354
77Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances nes and parts1362012,2641,9861642061,9592,178
78Road vehicles (incl. air-cushion vehicles)16182332562483451,8782,575
79Other transport equipment9232484449511581,1791,044
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles85996710,71211,2755276096,1196,834
81Prefab buildings; plumbing and electrical fixtures and fittings891111301317158192
82Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc13111221392834321369
83Travel goods, handbags and similar containers1115151113108118
84Articles of apparel; clothing accessories18272162581271401,5121,633
87Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus nes2753353,5854,2131021271,3091,508
88Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches and clocks79781,0721,0481821219249
89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes4645025,5605,4352032332,1842,445
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere44109543610931031,0701,164 
Unclassified estimates2485563060998831,0961,103 
1 December 2014 is based on current Intrastat response levels, see background notes. 
2 Estimates for which a commodity classification is not available.
Table 4 Goods Exports and Imports classified by country1
Czech Republic42394614663241331398
Great Britain1,1321,06512,62011,8421,4341,43515,87016,192
Hungary 20232642461010105123
Italy 1481612,2992,1037578875919
Northern Ireland1121301,4781,58681911,0161,078
EU Country not specified3162542911141,1421,266
Total EU3,8204,05849,64948,8122,8373,08232,46333,689
  of which Euro-Zone42,3082,54532,18831,8551,0661,25912,31813,073
Saudi Arabia3693645761007512
South Africa19192592787149293
South Korea24433214664278408483
Other countries2784013,7843,9762561162,2232,406
Country unknown622271232140389464
1 December 2014 is based on current Intrastat response levels, see background notes. 
2 Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013.   
3 Includes estimates for traders below the Intrastat threshold and transactions where the EU country was not specified.
4 Euro-zone members from January 2014: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Greece, Ireland, Italy,
  the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia, Estonia and Latvia.
5China includes Hong Kong and Macao.    
6 Trade for which the country of origin or country of final destination is unknown.
Table 5 Goods Exports and Imports classified by commodity and principal countries1
 Country by Section level of SITCDecDecJan-DecJan-DecDecDecJan-DecJan-Dec
Great Britain1,1321,06512,62011,8421,4341,43515,87016,192
0Food and live animals3663563,4563,5522452652,4522,536
1Beverages and tobacco21192892553231281308
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels2631361415911138138
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials39295383973822964,4964,174
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes121612334340
5Chemicals and related products3462784,3103,4651701981,9672,129
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material47586868151181341,5171,634
7Machinery and transport equipment1751751,6991,6682202462,4152,534
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles86949549721982031,9462,065
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere24243112915548615633
Other EU2,32,6882,99337,02936,9701,4041,64716,59417,497
0Food and live animals2722823,2903,4462042202,5402,576
1Beverages and tobacco27293373533032395370
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels82819459261722228249
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials471061011219655450
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes3429441011146136
5Chemicals and related products1,4041,66722,88822,7693763784,6884,459
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material45527027391091161,4721,581
7Machinery and transport equipment4904654,4304,1224225983,8214,704
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles3323703,9184,0841031251,2461,476
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere29363833851211271,4031,497
0Food and live animals10131201533121290237
1Beverages and tobacco3441350350111418
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels242631223934
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials001442800027142
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes--000021
5Chemicals and related products6901,43012,79513,7641531801,8932,109
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material2171511192124292297
7Machinery and transport equipment821011,0381,1951431661,8732,061
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles2863143,7193,8805867759870
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere224435444443
China4 1471971,9412,1112793213,0913,481
0Food and live animals4551381544222530
1Beverages and tobacco00440000
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels5793108132735
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials--000000
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes0032-000
5Chemicals and related products43764627531317192213
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material1320282229294348
7Machinery and transport equipment31367343731551661,5151,684
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles2023244299811029961,129
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere-000334040
Rest of World1,4871,57817,02018,3438518319,23810,607
0Food and live animals1141161,4871,6266448726774
1Beverages and tobacco10141941821413133136
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels15273083212125240268
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials003447144671,7081,708
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes0044424440
5Chemicals and related products8918469,93910,8421741482,1322,487
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material12141511512224301347
7Machinery and transport equipment2732932,5932,6223133902,7183,500
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles1351661,8752,040881111,1721,294
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere38101436507756353
1 December 2014 is based on current Intrastat response levels, see background notes.
2 Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013.
3 Includes estimates for traders below the Intrastat threshold and transactions where the EU country was not specified.
4 China includes Hong Kong and Macao.

Background Notes



Goods Exports and Imports statistics provide data on the movement of goods between countries. The statistics are a combination of Customs-based non-EU trade statistics and data from the Intrastat Survey of Irish traders involved in trade with other EU member states. The collection of trade data is the responsibility of VIMA (a branch of Revenue). The CSO is responsible for processing and disseminating the data.


Trade figures are subject to revision on the incorporation of late Intrastat and VAT returns and corrections made by traders. When the preliminary results for a month are published, the results for months -1 November 2014 in this publication), -4 (August 2014) and -8 (April 2014) are revised.

Intrastat System

The Intrastat system has two components. Firstly, the Intrastat survey (conducted by the Revenue Commissioners), in which traders, above the Intrastat survey trade thresholds, make detailed monthly returns giving information on the quantity and value of all exports to or imports from EU countries.

The total number of traders required to make a detailed import return is around 6,700 while around 1,900 must make a detailed export return. The response rate in terms of number of traders in December 2014 was 68%, covering an estimated 91% of the total value of intra-EU trade (these response rates will have increased by the next time data for December is published).

The second component of the Intrastat system is the regular VAT return, on which all traders are required to record the total value of goods imported from and exported to other EU countries. This information provides the basis for determining total EU trade for those traders below the Intrastat survey thresholds. It is also used to maintain the register of EU traders.

Extrastat System

The statistics of trade with non-EU countries are compiled from the documents supplied by importers and exporters to the Customs authorities. The document is the Single Administrative Document (SAD) used for Customs clearance purposes.


The figures in this release include estimates for traders above the Intrastat thresholds who did not make detailed returns for the period and for traders below the thresholds who did not provide aggregate intra-EU trade figures on their VAT returns.

Estimates for Intrastat non-respondents are apportioned to individual commodities and countries whenever previous Intrastat returns are available. Estimates for traders below the Intrastat thresholds are assigned to partner country where possible, but not to commodity.

Imports incorporate an upward adjustment of 1.75% of total imports, which is included in ‘Unclassified estimates’. This special adjustment arises from the difficulty of comprehensively covering all EU imports through the Intrastat survey system. The unclassified category also includes certain miscellaneous adjustments.

More information is now being processed on lower value transactions. Prior to January 2012, transactions below €254 were grouped together, this value has now decreased to €127. Therefore, this has resulted in more detail being available at commodity level in Table 3 and at country level in Tables 4 and 5.

Unit Value Indices

The monthly unit value index measures monthly unit value trends relative to the annual levels in the preceding year using value weights relating to that year’s trade (Laspeyres index).

The annual index is compiled using value weights for both the current and previous year (Fisher index) to allow for change in the structure of trade in goods.

The monthly index series should be regarded as interim measures suitable for month-to-month comparisons within a given year. Previous monthly indices are revised when late returns are received.

When the annual unit value index is compiled, the monthly unit value indices are rescaled to make their average equal to the annual index.

Seasonally Adjusted Series

Monthly exports, imports, trade surplus and the volume series for exports and imports have been seasonally adjusted using the US Bureau of the Census X-11 Variant of the Census Method 11 Seasonal Adjustment Program. In the main, monthly projections are based on series recalculated at the end of the previous year.


There are methodological differences between the measurement of exports and imports in this release compared with Industrial Production, National Accounts and Balance of Payments statistics. This release records the movement of all goods over the frontier at the valuation placed on the goods at the time of crossing  the frontier. Industrial Production, National Accounts and Balance of Payments statistics take account of additional aspects of cross-frontier activities such as goods sent abroad for processing where goods cross the frontier without change of ownership. The CSO releases for those statistics provide more information on their methodology.

Services Exports and Imports

The quarterly Balance of Payments (BOP) statistics provide detail on Services exports and imports.

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