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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Goods Exports and Imports

January 2021

Seasonally adjusted
€ million
 ExportsImportsSurplus
August 202014,5086,8167,691
September 202013,6126,2547,358
October 202012,2626,9875,275
November 202014,5128,6625,849
December 202012,8367,5135,322
January 202113,0246,6066,418

Seasonally adjusted goods imports decreased by over €900 million in January

Figure 1 Goods Exports and Imports seasonally adjusted
go to full release

The value of seasonally adjusted goods imports decreased by €907 million (-12%) to €6,606 million in January 2021 compared with December 2020, according to preliminary figures.

The value of goods exports increased by €188 million (+1%) to €13,024 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. This means that there was an increase of €1,096 million (+21%) in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €6,418 million in January 2021 compared with the previous month (see Table 2).

Trade exports decreased by over €1.7 billion in January

The (unadjusted) value of goods exports for January 2021 was €13,237 million representing a decrease of €1,746 million (-12%) when compared with January 2020.

Exports of Organic chemicals decreased by €607 million (-20%) to €2,409 million in January 2021.

Exports of Food and live animals decreased by €140 million (-16%) to €736 million.

Exports of Office machines and automatic data processing machines decreased by €213 million (-38%) to €344 million over the same comparative period.

Exports of Medical and pharmaceutical products increased by €512 million (+10%) to €5,858 million. This represents 44% of total exports (see Table 3).

Imports fell by €1.4 billion in January

The (unadjusted) value of goods imports for January 2021 was €5,712 million representing a decrease of €1,396 million (-20%) when compared with January 2020.

Imports of Food and live animals decreased by €225 million (-35%) to €421 million in January 2021.

Imports of Petroleum products decreased by €147 million (-44%) to €186 million.

Imports of Other transport equipment, including aircraft decreased by €487 million (-48%) to €529 million compared with January 2020.

Imports of Organic chemicals increased by €350 million (+63%) to €904 million over the same comparative period.

The value of goods imports for January 2021 excluding SITC 79 (Other transport equipment, including aircraft) was €5,182 million, a decrease of €909 million (-15%) when compared with the corresponding January 2020 figure of €6,092 million (see Table 3).

Imports from Great Britain fell by €900 million in January

Imports from Great Britain decreased by €906 million (-65%) to €497 million in January 2021 compared with January 2020. Imports from Great Britain accounted for 9% of total imports.

Imports of Food and live animals fell by €187 million (-75%) to €62 million, and imports of Mineral fuels decreased by €139 million (-71%) to €57 million compared with January 2020. There were also large decreases in the imports of Chemicals and related products and Machinery and transport equipment (see Table 5).

Exports to Great Britain decreased by €149 million (-14%) in January 2021 to €946 million when compared with January 2020. Exports to Great Britain were 7% of total exports.

Exports of Food and live animals fell by €92 million (-33%) to €188 million, and exports of Machinery and transport equipment decreased by €106 million (-51%) to €101 million when compared with January 2020. Exports of Chemicals and related products to Great Britain increased by €157 (+56%) to €437 million (see Table 5).

Geographic breakdown of goods exports and imports

The EU accounted for €4,439 million (34%) of total exports in January 2021, of which €1,263 million went to Belgium and €1,015 million went to Germany. Exports to EU countries in January 2021 decreased by €1,344 million (-23%) compared with January 2020. As the UK had exited the EU on January 31st 2020, this data compares EU trade excluding the UK for both periods for comparative purposes.

The USA was the main non-EU destination accounting for €4,901 million (37%) of total exports in January 2021.

Imports from the EU were €2,205 million (39%) of total imports in January 2021, which is a decrease of €328 million (-13%) over the same month in 2020.

The USA with €722 million (13%), Switzerland with €663 million (12%) and China with €448 million (8%) were the main non-EU sources of imports (see Table 4).

Exports by industrial origin and Imports by main use

Industrial produce accounted for €12,620 million (95%) of total exports in January 2021. This is a decrease of €1,613 million (-11%) when compared with January 2020. There was €4,873 million of this exported to the USA, and €4,187 million to the EU. Agricultural produce accounted for €483 million (4%) of total exports (see Table 6).

Producer capital goods ready for use accounted for €968 million (17%) of total imports in January 2021, a decrease of €579 million (-37%) when compared with January 2020.

Consumption goods ready for use represented €1,428 million (25%) of total imports, and Materials for further production accounted for €3,221 million (56%) (see Table 7).

 *It should be noted that the detailed data described in Paragraph 3 onwards, and the data in Tables 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are not seasonally adjusted. Only the data described in the first two paragraphs and in Table 2 are seasonally adjusted. 

 

Note that from 1st January 2021 all trade in goods with Great Britain (excluding Northern Ireland) is treated as non-EU trade and therefore must be reported to Revenue’s Customs declaration systems. Prior to this, including throughout the transition period, data on trade with Great Britain were collected via the Intrastat survey.

Under the Revised Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland is legally part of the customs territory of the UK, but effectively remains within the EU Single Market for the movement of goods. In practise, this means that trade in goods with Northern Ireland continue to be collected on the Intrastat survey.

This map is © Ordnance Survey Ireland. All rights reserved. License number 01/05/001.
This map is © Ordnance Survey Ireland. All rights reserved. License number 01/05/001.
Table 1 Goods Exports and Imports summary analysis
PeriodValue1Volume index2Unit value index2 
ExportsImportsTrade surplusBase year 2010=100
€m€m€mExportsImportsExportsImportsTerms of trade3
2010 90,92448,69542,229 100.0  100.0  100.0  100.0  100.0
201193,19153,03540,155 106.1  110.4  96.6  98.7  97.9
2012 93,50756,17937,328 100.6  120.2  102.2  96.0  106.5
201389,18255,78733,394 101.1  123.5  97.0  92.8  104.6
201492,61662,15830,458 103.8  130.1  98.2  98.1  100.1
2015112,40770,11142,296 115.5  143.6  106.8  100.3  106.5
2016119,29274,23745,055 125.6  158.2  102.7  93.3  110.2
2017122,78582,94339,842 135.8  168.9  99.3  96.1  103.3
2018140,64591,99148,654 156.2  189.2  99.1  99.5  99.6
2019152,53490,86261,672 168.5  192.7  99.5  96.6  103.0
2020161,39386,02875,365..........
         
2018Quarter 133,84320,10013,743 152.3  172.2  97.9  95.9  102.1
 Quarter 235,55621,88713,669 161.5  184.3  96.8  97.6  99.3
 Quarter 334,16323,22310,940 148.2  181.9  101.4  104.0  97.6
 Quarter 437,08326,78110,302 163.2  218.7  100.2  100.3  99.9
2019Quarter 137,57721,84715,730 166.5  186.7  99.3  96.1  103.3
 Quarter 238,54022,15816,382 170.6  190.1  99.3  95.7  103.8
 Quarter 337,62922,00415,625 166.5  187.9  99.4  96.3  103.3
 Quarter 438,78924,85313,936 170.8  208.5  99.9  97.1  102.8
2020Quarter 143,81821,72822,091 199.4  186.4  96.3  95.8  100.5
 Quarter 237,81618,34219,474 173.1  156.1  96.0  96.4  99.6
 Quarter 340,67020,43220,238 189.5  176.1  94.4  95.2  99.1
 Quarter 439,08925,52613,562 182.1  231.2  94.5  90.7  104.1
        
2018January12,1026,5415,561 159.6  168.8  100.1  95.4  104.9
 February10,4016,4263,975 138.1  163.8  99.4  96.7  102.8
 March11,3407,1324,208 159.1  183.9  94.1  95.5  98.5
 April10,9806,6064,375 155.4  160.9  93.4  101.1  92.4
 May11,8106,9274,884 160.1  182.1  97.4  93.7  103.9
 June12,7668,3554,410 168.9  209.9  99.7  98.1  101.7
 July11,0757,7213,354 144.6  179.8  101.1  105.8  95.6
 August11,5387,2494,290 152.9  176.4  99.6  100.9  98.7
 September11,5508,2543,297 147.1  189.4  103.6  105.2  98.4
 October12,2558,9943,262 164.1  216.5  98.6  100.8  97.8
 November12,9568,8724,084 173.5  219.8  98.9  99.6  99.3
 December11,8728,9152,957 152.1  219.9  103.2  100.6  102.5
      
2019January13,4857,6625,824 179.1  196.0  99.4  96.3  103.2
 February12,4146,5075,907 164.9  165.8  99.3  96.6  102.8
 March11,6777,6783,999 155.5  198.2  99.1  95.4  103.8
 April12,7917,3415,451 169.7  190.7  99.4  94.8  104.9
 May13,6987,3566,342 182.1  189.2  99.3  95.8  103.6
 June12,0507,4614,589 160.1  190.3  99.3  96.6  102.8
 July13,3647,9385,425 177.2  203.2  99.5  96.2  103.4
 August11,7586,7355,023 156.2  172.8  99.3  96.0  103.5
 September12,5077,3315,177 166.2  187.7  99.5  96.6  102.9
 October14,2888,6145,675 189.4  218.6  99.5  97.0  102.6
 November12,8447,7615,082 169.5  194.7  99.9  97.5  102.5
 December11,6578,4783,179 153.5  212.3  100.2  96.9  103.4
          
20204January14,9827,1087,875 204.6  179.8  96.6  97.4  99.2
 February11,6857,8663,819 166.2  206.5  92.8  93.8  98.9
 March17,1516,75410,397 227.4  172.8  99.5  96.3  103.3
 April11,3375,5155,822 158.4  141.8  94.4  95.8  98.6
 May12,8706,1386,732 178.3  158.5  95.3  95.4  99.9
 June13,6096,6906,920 182.6  167.9  98.3  98.1  100.2
 July13,5258,1095,416 190.6  207.9  93.6  96.1  97.4
 August13,1275,9877,140 183.5  159.3  94.4  92.6  101.9
 September14,0176,3367,682 194.5  161.0  95.1  97.0  98.1
 October12,1247,6864,439 170.6  209.1  93.8  90.6  103.5
 November14,7148,9225,792 207.1  239.3  93.8  91.9  102.0
 December12,2518,9193,332 168.6  245.1  95.9  89.7  106.9
          
20214January13,2375,7127,525..........
1 Trade statistics revised since 2000, see background notes.
2 Monthly data have been rescaled to make their average equal to the annual.
3 Export unit value index divided by Import unit value index.
4 Revised. January 2021 is based on current Intrastat response levels. See background notes.
.. Indices not yet available.
Table 2 Goods Exports and Imports seasonally adjusted1 series
PeriodValueVolume index
ExportsImportsTrade surplusBase year 2010=100
€m€m€mExportsImports
2018Quarter 133,21120,28912,922 148.1  172.3
 Quarter 234,88621,89912,987 157.8  184.2
 Quarter 335,69424,75610,938 155.4  193.9
 Quarter 436,78925,01911,770 163.6  206.4
2019Quarter 137,58121,74015,841 165.6  187.9
 Quarter 237,69822,13115,567 167.1  192.4
 Quarter 338,54423,39515,148 171.3  198.4
 Quarter 438,90523,09015,816 171.2  189.9
2020Quarter 142,58622,17320,413 192.7  184.3
 Quarter 237,21718,72118,496 170.7  163.4
 Quarter 341,25821,21320,046 194.0  185.4
 Quarter 439,60923,16216,447 184.0  209.4
       
2018January11,6496,7744,876 151.2  175.5
 February10,8556,8773,978 146.1  172.1
 March10,7076,6394,068 147.0  169.4
 April11,2737,0074,266 157.9  176.0
 May11,5426,5994,943 154.7  175.7
 June12,0708,2933,778 161.0  201.0
 July11,7148,0733,641 151.9  186.2
 August11,7228,1733,549 155.9  197.0
 September12,2588,5103,748 158.4  198.4
 October11,8988,3443,554 154.2  196.9
 November12,1468,2773,869 162.3  202.8
 December12,7458,3994,347 174.3  219.7
       
2019January12,9787,4795,499 172.3  198.3
 February13,0626,9526,109 175.2  174.8
 March11,5417,3094,232 149.3  190.5
 April12,7127,3875,325 164.6  195.3
 May12,6727,3665,306 172.9  192.3
 June12,3147,3784,936 163.8  189.7
 July13,2938,1625,131 178.1  207.3
 August12,4887,6454,843 165.4  192.0
 September12,7637,5885,174 170.3  195.8
 October14,1107,8316,280 181.7  195.6
 November12,4147,4994,915 163.4  187.3
 December12,3817,7604,621 168.4  186.8
      
2020January13,6727,6216,051 191.0  186.4
 February12,1308,2063,924 174.5  211.0
 March16,7846,34610,438 212.6  155.5
April11,3645,9635,401 157.2  153.2
May12,9016,4496,451 181.5  169.2
June12,9526,3086,644 173.4  167.7
July13,1398,1424,997 189.9  206.0
August14,5086,8167,691 201.1  187.1
September13,6126,2547,358 191.1  163.2
October12,2626,9875,275 168.2  196.5
November14,5128,6625,849 200.6  222.6
December12,8367,5135,322 183.1  209.0
     
2021January13,0246,6066,418....
1 Seasonally adjusted data has been revised from January 2010 onwards using X-13-ARIMA methodology, implemented in JDEMETRA+. Previously X-11 methodology was used.
.. Indices not yet available.
Table 3 Goods Exports and Imports classified by commodity1
€million
SITC (Rev 4)ExportsImports
JanuaryJanuaryJanuaryJanuary
2020202120202021
0Food and live animals876736646421
00Live animals other than animals of Division 0316133211
01Meat and meat preparations3192568345
02Dairy products and birds' eggs1711237857
03Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof30472514
04Cereals and cereal preparations45418659
05Vegetables and fruit272310780
06Sugars, sugar preparations and honey1383221
07Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof39345431
08Feeding stuff for animals (excluding unmilled cereals)30408165
09Miscellaneous edible products and preparations1861506738
1Beverages and tobacco1441056152
11Beverages 1441055848
12Tobacco and tobacco manufactures0034
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels1251157767
21Hides, skins and furskins, raw6400
22Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits 2321
23Crude rubber (including synthetic and reclaimed) 0311
24Cork and wood13171518
25Pulp and waste paper3741
26Textile fibres and their wastes111011
27Crude fertilisers and minerals (excluding coal, petroleum and precious stones)1210139
28Metalliferous ores and metal scrap67512320
29Crude animal and vegetable materials nes10101815
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials16083432264
32Coal, coke and briquettes101179
33Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials14664334186
34Gas, natural and manufactured118260
35Electric current49109
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes782517
41Animal oils and fats6721
42Fixed vegetable fats and oils112015
43Animal or vegetable fats and oils, processed; waxes0031
5Chemicals and related products9,5559,3661,5681,796
51Organic chemicals3,0162,409553904
52Inorganic chemicals19182523
53Dyeing, tanning and colouring materials1091915
54Medical and pharmaceutical products5,3475,858599557
55Essential oils; perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preparations73662410480
56Fertilisers (other than those of Division 27)103935
57Plastics in primary forms36287962
58Plastics in non-primary forms551476250
59Chemical materials and products nes3352728870
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material190179511378
61Leather; leather manufactures nes; dressed furskins2222
62Rubber manufactures nes8123329
63Cork and wood manufactures (excluding furniture)25262723
64Paper, paperboard and articles thereof16128455
65Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products14124338
66Non-metallic mineral manufactures nes32405540
67Iron and steel16127755
68Non-ferrous metals1194537
69Manufactures of metals nes665314598
7Machinery and transport equipment2,4831,4292,7121,976
71Power generating machinery and equipment104123115103
72Machinery specialised for particular industries5549139113
73Metalworking machinery22137
74General industrial machinery and equipment nes and parts nes156111158157
75Office machines and automatic data processing machines (including computers)557344457344
76Telecommunications and sound equipment10257164156
77Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances nes and parts863701259233
78Road vehicles (including air-cushion vehicles)3518390334
79Other transport equipment (including aircraft)609241,016529
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles1,3621,177899642
81Prefab buildings; plumbing and electrical fixtures and fittings11122621
82Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc21125343
83Travel goods, handbags and similar containers42147
84Articles of apparel; clothing accessories1911163113
85Footwear423423
87Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus nes552501161134
88Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches and clocks1241167631
89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes627522373270
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere2342312
Unclassified estimates2573415386
       
Total14,98213,2377,1085,712
1 Trade statistics revised since 2000. January 2021 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
€million
CountryExportsImports
JanuaryJanuaryJanuaryJanuary
2020202120202021
Austria35272219
Belgium1,8801,263265121
Bulgaria13933
Croatia5611
Cyprus3201
Czech Republic41397185
Denmark48425242
Estonia1112
Finland22201413
France521366772621
Germany1,3811,015607486
Greece14212854
Hungary 25281623
Italy 388432137147
Latvia5643
Lithuania21096
Luxembourg7525
Malta3401
Netherlands698576269238
Poland961098259
Portugal32282124
Romania3337711
Slovakia141344
Slovenia101534
Spain21817499113
Sweden91623858
EU Country not specified2692429113
Total EU2735,7834,4392,5332,205
Euro-Zone45,3634,0842,2341,811
     
Great Britain1,0969461,403497
Northern Ireland170199161177
Total UK1,2661,1451,565674
     
Australia706095
Brazil54191517
Canada1001055443
China5797876473448
India35254944
Japan31126012699
Malaysia23143522
Mexico1493413424
Norway25172636
Russia38323859
Saudi Arabia515711
Singapore45326722
South Africa271875
South Korea74628975
Switzerland251373219663
Taiwan25263957
Thailand10113623
Turkey70567885
USA4,9594,9011,017722
Other countries440336214202
Country unknown637932384181
Total Non-EU (excl UK)7,9337,6523,0102,833
     
Total14,98213,2377,1085,712
1 Trade statistics revised since 2000. January 2021 is based on current Intrastat response levels. See background notes.
2 Includes estimates for traders below the Intrastat threshold and transactions where the EU country was not specified.
3 From February 2020 the United Kingdom exited the EU, therefore the EU total is made up of the 27 remaining member states. For data comparability over time the EU are shown separately for both the current and prior periods.
4 Euro-zone members from January 2015: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
5 China 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
€million
  ExportsImports
Country by Section level of SITCJanuaryJanuaryJanuaryJanuary
2020202120202021
Great Britain1,0969461,403497
0Food and live animals28118824962
1Beverages and tobacco149146
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels3028176
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials673319657
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes1141
5Chemicals and related products28043718174
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material755717776
7Machinery and transport equipment208101314120
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles1158618074
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere2557322
EU 2725,7834,4392,5332,205
0Food and live animals278247238208
1Beverages and tobacco28272323
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels63512123
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials42274192
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes451512
5Chemicals and related products4,1963,214579510
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material5657143128
7Machinery and transport equipment6134101,221978
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles481373182166
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere25297168
USA4,9594,9011,017722
0Food and live animals2628814
1Beverages and tobacco814811
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels2144
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials0015954
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes--00
5Chemicals and related products3,9464,198324310
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material16123430
7Machinery and transport equipment390188377220
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles49342310585
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere4285
China3797876473448
0Food and live animals774762
1Beverages and tobacco1000
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels4433
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials--00
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes0000
5Chemicals and related products552024062
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material215245
7Machinery and transport equipment607533238226
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles5288127109
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere0060
Rest of World2,3482,0741,6801,840
0Food and live animals215225145135
1Beverages and tobacco20212423
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels26313231
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials52243862
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes1165
5Chemicals and related products1,0781,315444840
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material405110599
7Machinery and transport equipment667197562433
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles222207306209
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere251184
     
Total14,98213,2377,1085,712
1 Trade statistics revised since 2000. January 2021 is based on current Intrastat response levels. See background notes.
2 Includes estimates for traders below the Intrastat threshold and transactions where the EU country was not specified.
3 China includes Hong Kong and Macao.
Table 6 Goods Exports by industrial origin and area of destination
€million
Industrial origin and areaExports
JanuaryJanuary
20202021
Agricultural produce600483
Great Britain and Northern Ireland231164
EU1214187
USA2627
Rest of World130105
   
Forestry and fishing produce4365
Great Britain and Northern Ireland1619
EU11826
USA00
Rest of World1019
   
Industrial produce14,23412,620
Great Britain and Northern Ireland978933
EU15,5304,187
USA4,9324,873
Rest of World2,7932,627
   
Unclassified exports10669
   
Total14,98213,237
1EU excluding Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Table 7 Goods Imports by main use and area of origin
€million
Main use and area of originImports
JanuaryJanuary
20202021
Producers capital goods ready for use1,547968
Great Britain and Northern Ireland15458
EU1815654
USA20533
Rest of World372223
   
Consumption goods ready for use - food drink and tobacco520342
Great Britain and Northern Ireland249114
EU1210175
USA44
Rest of World5849
Consumption goods ready for use - other1,3481,087
Great Britain and Northern Ireland346127
EU1356388
USA164176
Rest of World481396
   
Materials for further production - agriculture192162
Great Britain and Northern Ireland4524
EU16178
USA1822
Rest of World6837
Materials for further production - other3,3303,059
Great Britain and Northern Ireland689329
EU11,020841
USA621485
Rest of World1,0011,405
   
Unclassified imports17194
   
Total7,1085,712
1EU excluding Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Background Notes

Introduction

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.

Revisions to the Trade in Goods statistics

Since May 2015, significant revisions were incorporated into International Trade in Goods statistics. While the most significant revision is due to recording trade in aircraft on a "transfer of economic ownership" basis, other revisions were incorporated into the Trade data back to 2000. 

Along with the aircraft revisions Goods Exports revisions also include upward revisions due to revaluing some products that had previously been recorded on a “transfer of economic ownership” basis, which was not in line with goods statistics methodology. Also Goods Imports revisions include downward revisions due to a change in the estimation methodology for non-response.

The technical note gives more detail on the revised trade in aircraft methodology and explains the impact the revisions will have on Trade in Goods, National Accounts and Balance of Payments.

Standard Revisions

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 (December 2020 in this publication), -4 (September 2020) and -8 (May 2020) are revised. Following the move to a "transfer of economic ownership" basis for recording exports and imports of aircraft, SITC 79 figures are subject to revision on the incorporation of transactions from quarterly Balance of Payments (BoP) surveys. Such revisions will generally be incorporated into Goods Exports and Imports releases that coincide with quarterly BoP publications, i.e. when initial results are published for January, April, July and October.

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 5,200 while around 2,200 must make a detailed export return. The response rate in terms of number of traders in January 2021 was 53%, covering an estimated 82% of the total value of intra-EU trade (these response rates will have increased by the next time data for January 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.

Estimation

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.

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.

The unit value index series has been rebased to 2010 from 1990. In the course of this rebasing, a detailed examination of the series was undertaken. This exercise has produced a number of modifications enabling production of a more robust series.

Seasonally Adjusted Series

In the April 2020 release the seasonal adjustment methodology for trade in goods data was updated from X-11 to X-13-ARIMA model. The X-13-ARIMA method is implemented in JDEMETRA+, the standard Eurostat software package for Seasonal Adjustment.

X-13-ARIMA incorporates significant new types of modelling capability for the issues commonly faced in seasonal adjustment, and also produces sophisticated diagnostics to help improve seasonal adjustment.

The seasonally adjusted series have been revised back to January 2010 using the new methodology.

Methodology

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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