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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Goods Exports and Imports

September 2014

Seasonally adjusted
€ million
April 20146,8414,0322,810
May 20147,9174,7503,167
June 20147,7114,3733,338
July 20146,5104,6021,908
August 20148,0174,6313,386
September 20147,6944,4403,254

Seasonally adjusted trade surplus down 4% in September

Goods Exports and Imports seasonally adjusted
go to full release

Preliminary figures for September 2014 show that seasonally adjusted exports decreased by €323 million (-4%) to €7,694 million from August 2014. Seasonally adjusted imports also decreased by 4% (-€191 million) to €4,440 million, leading to a decrease of €132 million (-4%) in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €3,254 million in September (see Table 2).

Comparing September 2014 with September 2013, the value of exports increased by €568 million (+8%) to €7,902 million. The main drivers were increases of €377 million (+22%) in the exports of Medical and pharmaceutical products and €104 million (+25%) in Essential oils. Exports of Organic chemicals decreased by €151 million (-9%).  A comparison of the non-seasonally adjusted exports between January to September 2014 and January to September 2013 shows an increase of €855 million (+1%).

On an overall basis the EU accounted for €4,436 million (56%) of total exports in September 2014. The USA was the main non-EU destination accounting for 22% (€1,764 million) of total exports in September 2014.

Comparing September 2014 with September 2013, the value of imports increased by €393 million (+10%) to €4,435 million. Imports of Petroleum and related products increased by €148 million (+40%) and Machinery specialised for particular industries increased by €123 million (+148%). Comparing non-seasonally adjusted imports between January to September 2014 and January to September 2013 shows that there was an increase of €2,685 million (+7%).

The EU accounted for 60% of the value of imports in September 2014, with 29% coming from Great Britain. The USA (11%) and China (8%) were the main non-EU sources of imports. 

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
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 121,28013,4767,804455.1254.5103.0133.577.2
 Quarter 222,83313,0709,763491.1247.6102.3132.977.0
 Quarter 322,12312,8959,228467.2244.6104.2132.878.5
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 September 2014 is based on current Intrastat response levels, see background notes.
Table 2 Goods Exports and Imports seasonally adjusted1 series  
PeriodValueVolume index
ExportsImportsTrade surplusBase year 1990=100
2013Quarter 121,18111,6829,499442.4225.6
 Quarter 221,56712,3189,249452.2233.5
 Quarter 322,30212,8459,456475.8242.4
 Quarter 422,11013,2648,846468.6250.2
2014Quarter 121,32312,7888,535454.2243.5
Quarter 222,46913,1549,315487.4248.5
Quarter 322,22113,6738,548468.7257.3
1 Based on seasonal patterns up to December 2013. 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 animals7718146,3836,9024644704,4154,479
00Live animals other than animals of Division 033331235230857694
01Meat and meat preparations2733012,1852,4387371592634
02Dairy products and birds' eggs1801711,3991,3975463466590
03Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof29383543901618157173
04Cereals and cereal preparations26302172597276749715
05Vegetables and fruit21261801967783782777
06Sugars, sugar preparations and honey10891793432297268
07Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof31302912684546298308
08Feeding stuff for animals (excl. unmilled cereals)19201871745037691568
09Miscellaneous edible products and preparations1491581,2441,4703541308351
1Beverages and tobacco1261378418158692583600
11Beverages 1171307777657582514533
12Tobacco and tobacco manufactures97645011106967
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels1621811,3041,3626157518535
21Hides, skins and furskins, raw18151061210000
22Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits 1146322219
23Crude rubber (incl. synthetic and reclaimed) 0024221114
24Cork and wood11159311910107689
25Pulp and waste paper4113848543538
26Textile fibres and their wastes1312105100221515
27Crude fertilisers and minerals (excl. coal, petroleum and precious stones)1211106110898888
28Metalliferous ores and metal scrap961057707781917144146
29Crude animal and vegetable materials nes81078761212126125
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials38646546405006395,1935,114
32Coal, coke and briquettes556464816166127
33Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials31565715493705183,8163,965
34Gas, natural and manufactured2115171151021,165966
35Electric current0359734657
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes4537472118181164
41Animal oils and fats34304021910
42Fixed vegetable fats and oils11661815153141
43Animal or vegetable fats and oils, processed; waxes0022221813
5Chemicals and related products4,0814,40838,55338,7628548058,1808,593
51Organic chemicals1,6401,48913,88814,2502491711,9032,420
52Inorganic chemicals19181551221515161148
53Dyeing, tanning and colouring materials99128881416141145
54Medical and pharmaceutical products1,6822,05916,53616,0333253343,3843,250
55Essential oils; perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preparations4245284,8515,2899798790814
56Fertilisers (other than those of Division 27)0032718388329
57Plastics in primary forms29312402406666602623
58Plastics in non-primary forms33362873183840341380
59Chemical materials and products nes2442372,4652,4204246469486
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material1521611,2521,3953333692,8753,124
61Leather; leather manufactures nes; dressed furskins552124221414
62Rubber manufactures nes6650512424210223
63Cork and wood manufactures (excl. furniture)22201801811316117149
64Paper, paperboard and articles thereof15141101167272599609
65Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products12131021152835243308
66Non-metallic mineral manufactures nes26322162613643285308
67Iron and steel812911034450377445
68Non-ferrous metals6748574345425412
69Manufactures of metals nes52534344877281605656
7Machinery and transport equipment9559997,6147,2769541,1378,87510,233
71Power generating machinery and equipment91256183725641597484
72Machinery specialised for particular industries5263402526832067231,567
73Metalworking machinery2216197115266
74General industrial machinery and equipment nes and parts nes1241511,0291,1341131238581,014
75Office machines and automatic data processing machines3694112,8372,7142452712,0642,155
76Telecommunications and sound equipment638047851892120767888
77Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances nes and parts2032011,7401,3651721921,4191,557
78Road vehicles (incl. air-cushion vehicles)19231751941261471,3251,778
79Other transport equipment334332043460271,072724
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles9331,0397,9218,1525796614,3514,833
81Prefab buildings; plumbing and electrical fixtures and fittings111282921518110134
82Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc1010881072831234269
83Travel goods, handbags and similar containers1111118107884
84Articles of apparel; clothing accessories22221561701541731,1011,156
87Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus nes2923712,6363,0651221409111,071
88Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches and clocks89907917721720156182
89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes5065304,1363,9122062391,5301,700
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere59394174278797786848 
Unclassified estimates2525540445810190800916 
1 September 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 Republic44403263492827222295
Great Britain9991,0339,2558,8091,4021,28711,52611,954
Hungary 1720202178887991
Italy 1891761,7471,6137569649676
Northern Ireland1301451,0791,1558487753800
EU Country not specified3261934941188481,019
Total EU4,1314,43637,30435,9292,6882,65923,83924,753
  of which Euro-Zone42,7112,96024,44823,4179769939,1489,481
Saudi Arabia336652055200734
South Africa2319179212776562
South Korea18422443302028307308
Other countries3123222,8932,8491813301,5611,773
Country unknown621218943033326365
1 September 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 SITCSepSepJan-SepJan-SepSepSepJan-SepJan-Sep
Great Britain9991,0339,2558,8091,4021,28711,52611,954
0Food and live animals2943122,4392,5392082131,7371,807
1Beverages and tobacco29212091902933202224
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels37392673151312108105
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials31313913124102643,3093,313
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes11129533230
5Chemicals and related products2612663,3332,6471611641,4661,532
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material62735066101311461,1131,221
7Machinery and transport equipment1731821,1981,2802052091,7621,835
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles85836996911821971,3501,416
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere25262022175746448471
Other EU2,33,1333,40328,04927,1201,2861,37212,31312,800
0Food and live animals3083142,4462,5981992121,9021,888
1Beverages and tobacco31472422484143282270
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels81896956981918173183
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials6686683759547342
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes3421331211113100
5Chemicals and related products1,8862,04017,73616,7743513353,5633,414
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material64665345571261351,1011,173
7Machinery and transport equipment3864183,1562,9792622942,7083,171
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles3353802,8832,8731201368901,067
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere31382492911201291,0321,191
0Food and live animals111583108127212167
1Beverages and tobacco464724424512913
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels311921233227
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials02714425713817126
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes0-0-0011
5Chemicals and related products1,1731,17410,03110,2411281591,4311,503
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material107851002526219221
7Machinery and transport equipment1111257658771221841,4401,619
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles3393672,7432,8556378563655
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere723325443332
China4 1461881,4721,5722983482,1882,399
0Food and live animals3552274392221923
1Beverages and tobacco00330000
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels8117179222126
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials00000000
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes00220000
5Chemicals and related products29643295881522136158
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material1215182733217251
7Machinery and transport equipment52346022691401571,0621,136
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles2124177220107129703773
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere0000432930
Rest of World1,3561,51312,45714,0066979286,7727,926
0Food and live animals1241211,1411,2654337545595
1Beverages and tobacco192214212915149093
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels34402532492422184194
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials10333522781,3211,334
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes0124443433
5Chemicals and related products7328647,1248,5112001251,5831,987
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material14121121092330225258
7Machinery and transport equipment2322411,8941,8712252931,9032,471
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles1531841,4191,513107121845921
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere4728337351544440
1 September 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 (August 2014 in this publication), -4 (May 2014) and -8 (January 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 September 2014 was 65%, covering an estimated 91% of the total value of intra-EU trade (these response rates will have increased by the next time data for September 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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