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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Trade@cso.ie Ciarán Counihan (+353) 1 498 4215 Damian Malone (+353) 1 498 4206
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 Visit StatCentral.ie, the portal to Ireland's official statistics On-line ISSN 2009-5155
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Goods Exports and Imports

March 2018

Seasonally adjusted
€ million
 ExportsImportsSurplus
October 20179,7786,5363,243
November 201710,0176,8533,163
December 201710,6577,0123,644
January 201812,3886,8405,548
February 201810,9046,9453,959
March 201810,3736,3444,029

Seasonally adjusted goods exports decrease in March

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

Seasonally adjusted goods exports decreased by €531 million (-5%) to €10,373 million in March 2018, according to preliminary figures.

Seasonally adjusted goods imports decreased by €601 million (-9%) to €6,344 million leading to a slight increase of €70 million (+2%) in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €4,029 million in March 2018 (see Table 2).

Exports of Electrical machinery and apparatus decreases in March

The (unadjusted) value of goods exports for March 2018 was €11,244 million representing a decrease of €793 million (-7%) when compared with March 2017.  The value of goods exports for the period January to March 2018 was €33,521 million, an increase of €1,380 million (+4%) when compared with the first quarter 2017. 

Exports of Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances decreased by €515 million (-55%) to €426 million in March 2018 compared with March 2017.
 
Exports of Organic chemicals increased by €1,024 million (+52%) to €3,001 million.
 
Exports of Other transport equipment, including aircraft decreased by €675 million (-76%) to €218 million over the same comparative period.

Imports of Mineral fuels increase in March

The (unadjusted) value of goods imports for March 2018 was €7,080 million, representing a slight increase of €23 million (+0.3%) when compared with March 2017.  The value of goods imports for January to March 2018 was €19,909 million, which is an increase of €712 million (+4%) compared with the first three months of 2017.
 
Mineral fuels imports increased by €52 million (+13%) to €463 million in March 2018 compared with March 2017.  The majority of this increase was in the imports of gas, perhaps reflecting the very cold weather experienced in March.
 
Imports of Other transport equipment, including aircraft decreased by €291 million (-16%) to €1,496 million.
 
Imports of Medical and pharmaceutical products increased by €364 million (+61%) to €961 million over the same comparative period.
 
The value of goods imports for March 2018 excluding SITC 79 (Other transport equipment, including aircraft) was €5,584 million, an increase of €314 million (+6%) when compared with the corresponding March 2017 figure of €5,270 million.

Exports to Great Britain decrease in March

Exports to Great Britain decreased by €63 million (-5%) to €1,117 million in March 2018 compared with March 2017.  This was largely due to a decrease in Machinery and transport equipment with a smaller decrease in Minerals fuels, lubricants and related materials.  There was a small increase in the exports of Food and live animals.

Imports from Great Britain increased by €75 million (+5%) to €1,545 million compared with March 2017.  This is almost entirely related to the increase in imports of Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (see Table 5).

Geographic breakdown of goods exports and imports

The EU accounted for €5,819 million (52%) of total goods exports in March 2018 of which €1,668 million went to Belgium and €861 million went to Germany. Total EU exports in March decreased by €148 million (-2%) compared with March 2017.

The USA was the main non-EU destination accounting for €3,163 million (28%) of total exports in March 2018.

The EU accounted for €4,562 (64%) of total goods imports in March 2018, which is an increase of €83 million (+2%) compared with March 2017.

The USA with €950 million (13%) and China with €469 million (7%) were the main non-EU sources of imports. 

NOTE: From the October 2017 External trade release, the CSO have expanded the range of detailed trade data available on CSO’s StatBank.  The extra detail includes further breakdown of trade at SITC2 level by country and area.  The countries and area for which this detail is available are those included in Table 4 of the release.  The data is available on a month by month basis for the periods January 2015 to the latest month of release and on an annual basis from 2010 to 2017.  Links to these data are contained within the body of the release.  The latest month's data should be treated as provisional.  For queries on trade with countries not included in the list, please contact trade@cso.ie.
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
2016119,29274,13145,162 125.6  158.2  102.7  93.3  110.2
2017122,57779,01043,567 135.8  168.9  99.3  96.1  103.3
         
2015Quarter 126,04316,8649,179 110.0  138.6  104.0  99.9  104.2
 Quarter 228,70516,98311,721 114.7  134.9  110.1  103.6  106.4
 Quarter 327,47716,73810,739 114.5  134.9  105.5  102.1  103.5
 Quarter 430,18319,52610,657 123.6  168.1  107.4  95.4  112.5
2016Quarter 127,81317,60010,214 119.5  158.0  100.7  89.4  112.6
 Quarter 230,30718,91911,388 129.0  159.5  102.0  94.8  107.6
 Quarter 330,36118,10612,254 126.5  152.5  103.6  94.2  110.1
 Quarter 430,81219,50611,306 127.6  162.8  104.6  94.7  110.5
2017Quarter 132,14119,19612,945 137.0  160.2  103.3  98.4  104.9
 Quarter 231,04121,1589,883 134.2  182.1  101.9  95.6  106.7
 Quarter 328,93017,79611,134 130.2  154.0  98.1  94.9  103.4
 Quarter 430,46620,8609,606 143.0  179.6  93.8  95.4  98.2
2018Quarter 133,52119,90913,612..........
          
2015January8,2905,3682,922 106.3  131.7  102.9  100.5  102.4
 February8,3485,1363,212 106.9  129.5  103.0  97.8  105.4
 March9,4056,3603,045 116.8  154.6  106.2  101.4  104.8
 April9,6145,6373,977 115.0  131.8  110.3  105.4  104.6
 May9,1805,5353,645 109.5  127.7  110.6  106.8  103.6
 June9,9115,8114,099 119.5  145.3  109.4  98.5  111.0
 July9,4135,7653,648 115.1  138.3  107.9  102.7  105.0
 August8,6265,2093,416 112.1  122.5  101.6  104.8  97.0
 September9,4385,7633,675 116.3  143.8  107.1  98.7  108.5
 October10,7546,3364,418 128.0  164.7  110.9  94.8  116.9
 November10,1796,1963,983 128.2  158.0  104.8  96.6  108.4
 December9,2516,9942,256 114.5  181.6  106.6  94.9  112.3
         
2016January8,8935,1363,757 120.9  142.6  95.6  87.0  110.0
 February8,5665,4733,093 105.0  144.4  106.0  91.6  115.8
 March10,3546,9913,364 132.6  187.0  100.6  89.7  112.1
 April10,0535,5854,468 125.8  144.6  104.1  93.4  111.5
 May9,3856,4042,982 123.6  164.7  99.0  94.2  105.0
 June10,8686,9303,938 137.7  169.3  102.8  96.7  106.4
 July9,4115,7313,680 120.4  144.2  101.9  96.2  106.0
 August10,4645,7154,750 130.8  146.1  103.4  93.1  111.1
 September10,4866,6613,824 128.2  167.1  105.6  93.4  113.1
 October10,1995,7004,499 129.3  142.6  103.1  95.9  107.5
 November11,2017,2363,965 140.6  183.9  104.1  94.4  110.3
 December9,4126,5702,842 113.0  162.0  106.6  93.7  113.8
         
20174January9,9045,8074,097 122.8  144.7  106.4  98.9  107.6
 February10,2006,3323,867 135.1  158.7  99.6  98.3  101.3
March12,0377,0574,980 153.0  177.2  103.9  98.1  105.8
April9,8636,6493,213 122.6  167.2  106.2  98.0  108.4
May10,5617,4313,131 139.3  193.4  100.0  94.7  105.7
June10,6187,0783,539 140.6  185.6  99.6  94.0  106.0
July9,1785,4083,771 117.4  140.2  103.2  95.1  108.5
August9,6176,0803,537 129.3  160.1  98.2  93.6  104.9
September10,1346,3083,826 143.8  161.8  93.0  96.1  96.8
October9,5856,7842,801 143.2  180.8  88.3  92.5  95.5
November10,9097,2903,619 151.6  187.0  95.0  96.0  98.9
December9,9726,7853,186 134.2  171.1  98.0  97.7  100.3
        
20184January11,9806,4505,530 164.8  169.6  95.9  93.7  102.4
 February10,2976,3793,918 143.0  167.2  95.1  94.0  101.1
 March11,2447,0804,164..........
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. March 2018 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
€m€m€mExportsImports
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 132,94118,67814,263 137.6  154.3
 Quarter 230,23821,4518,786 131.1  186.1
 Quarter 329,28018,70410,576 132.5  164.3
 Quarter 430,45120,40110,050 144.5  173.5
2018Quarter 133,66420,13013,535....
       
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
       
2017January10,7745,6845,091 129.5  140.8
 February11,1236,8074,316 141.8  168.3
 March11,0446,1884,857 141.4  153.9
 April9,8607,1872,673 124.0  181.5
 May10,5597,2703,289 136.6  192.1
 June9,8196,9942,824 132.7  184.7
 July9,7295,7523,976 124.5  151.1
 August9,6906,4023,289 129.6  169.9
 September9,8626,5503,311 143.3  172.0
 October9,7786,5363,243 141.9  172.4
 November10,0176,8533,163 140.5  172.9
 December10,6577,0123,644 151.0  175.2
       
2018January12,3886,8405,548 167.5  173.6
 February10,9046,9453,959 148.6  179.4
 March10,3736,3444,029....
1 Based on seasonal patterns up to March 2018. Accordingly all values in this table may have been revised.
.. Indices are not yet available.
Table 3 Goods Exports and Imports classified by commodity1
€million
SITC (Rev 4)ExportsImports
MarMarJan-MarJan-MarMarMarJan-MarJan-Mar
20172018201720182017201820172018
0Food and live animals9849542,5762,5986006111,7171,795
0Live animals other than animals of Division 0327128648655138
1Meat and meat preparations3363649049688584226252
2Dairy products and birds' eggs1732044205026982182212
3Fish, crustaceans, molluscs and preparations thereof545513615426236766
4Cereals and cereal preparations3732102988893253265
5Vegetables and fruit27277293115107303306
6Sugars, sugar preparations and honey1511413531309188
7Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof343297915450149155
8Feeding stuff for animals (excluding unmilled cereals)292979816875211224
9Miscellaneous edible products and preparations2521896395275961185190
1Beverages and tobacco1041033153087567182170
11Beverages 1041023143077165169166
12Tobacco and tobacco manufactures001152134
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels1691644584709583234219
21Hides, skins and furskins, raw141036310000
22Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits 11323389
23Crude rubber (including synthetic and reclaimed) 00101132
24Cork and wood1414363914143839
25Pulp and waste paper742016951512
26Textile fibres and their wastes121233331143
27Crude fertilisers and minerals (excluding coal, petroleum and precious stones)1111313116134039
28Metalliferous ores and metal scrap9810026727821216460
29Crude animal and vegetable materials nes1113333930246256
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials73682472084114631,2621,390
32Coal, coke and briquettes1111273025227580
33Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials5447189136318329981990
34Gas, natural and manufactured11526398197281
35Electric current8926404131039
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes1613312429257267
41Animal oils and fats141228222174
42Fixed vegetable fats and oils112325225958
43Animal or vegetable fats and oils, processed; waxes00002265
5Chemicals and related products6,3927,06217,54421,3431,4241,6504,0034,939
51Organic chemicals1,9773,0014,9077,220350260955763
52Inorganic chemicals1319376325288082
53Dyeing, tanning and colouring materials3211853422186054
54Medical and pharmaceutical products3,1593,0419,35611,0605979611,7962,933
55Essential oils; perfume materials; toilet and cleansing preparations7805742,0471,798128112345313
56Fertilisers (other than those of Division 27)11236760150145
57Plastics in primary forms4236941078981231240
58Plastics in non-primary forms48441321295652150158
59Chemical materials and products nes3403348839309081237250
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material2121935635584294421,2001,308
61Leather; leather manufactures nes; dressed furskins411082155
62Rubber manufactures nes78192326247577
63Cork and wood manufactures (excluding furniture)2628697825216967
64Paper, paperboard and articles thereof141438397771216218
65Textile yarn, fabrics, made-up articles and related products141639424140110121
66Non-metallic mineral manufactures nes47391191134745131136
67Iron and steel161740456582178215
68Non-ferrous metals9926274343122156
69Manufactures of metals nes7561204184103114295312
7Machinery and transport equipment2,5961,3696,4323,9123,0912,9148,0677,535
71Power generating machinery and equipment767817820410375239226
72Machinery specialised for particular industries6361147190119163348390
73Metalworking machinery328711143134
74General industrial machinery and equipment nes and parts nes191166485478144140416427
75Office machines and automatic data processing machines (including computers)283281809836253282815797
76Telecommunications and sound equipment114109256269124165365442
77Electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances nes and parts9414262,4231,250217243644689
78Road vehicles (including air-cushion vehicles)332882803323351,1581,107
79Other transport equipment (including aircraft)8922182,0455971,7871,4964,0503,425
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles1,3861,2403,7913,8456946441,9761,945
81Prefab buildings; plumbing and electrical fixtures and fittings1413374022226571
82Furniture and parts thereof; bedding, cushions etc181448454341117124
83Travel goods, handbags and similar containers227612103334
84Articles of apparel; clothing accessories27177648158138436414
85Footwear44111137359899
87Professional, scientific and controlling apparatus nes5734941,5321,504145142418429
88Photographic apparatus; optical goods; watches and clocks116121334354363310894
89Miscellaneous manufactured articles nes6315771,7461,838241222700681
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere501476723542101121
Unclassified estimates25664107183175141383419
           
Total12,03711,24432,14133,5217,0577,08019,19619,909
1 Trade statistics revised since 2000. March 2018 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
MarMarJan-MarJan-MarMarMarJan-MarJan-Mar
20172018201720182017201820172018
Austria4333969433297789
Belgium1,3921,6683,7594,642142142381357
Bulgaria7721202256
Croatia338101013
Cyprus22570011
Czech Republic3347100137293498139
Denmark69551551613854100137
Estonia22561132
Finland3536987910113335
France4754651,2931,3611,1718402,8401,894
Germany1,1028612,5702,4257781,0191,8262,505
Great Britain1,1801,1173,2723,3511,4691,5454,0174,343
Greece25257299741511
Hungary 2524647013503367
Italy 226243645687141119484598
Latvia451217642112
Lithuania23771382526
Luxembourg1117244326715
Malta347501132
Netherlands5485901,4401,637202276610718
Northern Ireland170156462458108115302319
Poland120742822335542147135
Portugal445011411444257659
Romania273172851082619
Slovakia561417341013
Slovenia9717223287
Spain220216692578115118339448
Sweden71621892046981146214
EU country not specified2115121993314223060
Total EU5,9675,81915,69416,6464,4784,56211,66612,233
  of which United Kingdom1,3501,2733,7343,8091,5771,6594,3194,661
Euro-Zone34,1464,23310,86311,8852,6582,6096,7336,793
         
Australia73652122238132135
Brazil1217455820224249
Canada1271453413736827186112
China47334881,5611,1353594691,0231,287
India5427106795643182149
Japan217280557947109110339322
Malaysia1713494729297787
Mexico15212541834433339891
Norway26259510214031428161
Russia40351191072853129150
Saudi Arabia78622081180012
Singapore685517118514255293
South Africa22205668982223
South Korea58511581548150286167
Switzerland4894221,0441,7117541180131
Taiwan1921479220215961
Thailand14115038372710191
Turkey74481471643744169142
USA3,3563,1639,9659,9311,2099503,3903,350
Other countries3883509839921764585521,039
Country unknown554111736863193135
Total Non-EU6,0705,42416,44716,8742,5792,5187,5307,676
         
Total12,03711,24432,14133,5217,0577,08019,19619,909
1 Trade statistics revised since 2000. March 2018 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 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.
4 China includes Hong Kong and Macao.
5 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 SITCMarMarJan-MarJan-MarMarMarJan-MarJan-Mar
20172018201720182017201820172018
Great Britain1,1801,1173,2723,3511,4691,5454,0174,343
0Food and live animals333358920960258248703734
1Beverages and tobacco1814464327246056
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels34349310918164646
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials331610270217318614803
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes1133541212
5Chemicals and related products3133229591,071231237636656
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material9084235242162165447472
7Machinery and transport equipment224161568452269286760818
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles10698287313183172510512
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere2930598810075229235
Other EU24,7874,70212,42213,2953,0093,0177,6497,890
0Food and live animals359362903971260270745783
1Beverages and tobacco3333929036308779
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels9810125125735308475
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials28228056439669254
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes1411272018164642
5Chemicals and related products2,8803,1597,5348,8555229581,5382,672
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material8275219222151154424469
7Machinery and transport equipment7714731,8461,3371,7031,2414,0262,859
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles4854221,3921,361155141435423
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere3744771258682195234
USA3,3563,1639,9659,9311,2099503,3903,350
0Food and live animals42181246316264967
1Beverages and tobacco42431341331163
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels441212631610
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials12029202136825
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes--000000
5Chemicals and related products1,9432,3745,9007,3344042351,116930
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material2413684135329798
7Machinery and transport equipment7632492,2699146215451,7301,901
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles5234601,4191,4039593281281
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere3391110122635
China37334881,5611,1353594691,0231,287
0Food and live animals8984220200431010
1Beverages and tobacco00100000
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels832414551212
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials00000000
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes00100000
5Chemicals and related products7716023430626317786
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material275143539107120
7Machinery and transport equipment509187968438173281491715
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles4746107162109106310329
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere0000751515
Rest of World1,9811,7744,9215,8091,0111,1003,1183,039
0Food and live animals1601324084046263210203
1Beverages and tobacco1212414012113032
2Crude materials, inedible, except fuels2523787831307776
3Mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials030366112946511307
4Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes0001651313
5Chemicals and related products1,1791,0472,9163,778241190636595
6Manufactured goods classified chiefly by material141536394653125150
7Machinery and transport equipment3302997827713255621,0591,242
8Miscellaneous manufactured articles226214586606151132439401
9Commodities and transactions not classified elsewhere3613931771921
         
Total12,03711,24432,14133,5217,0577,08019,19619,909
1 Trade statistics revised since 2000. March 2018 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.

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 (February 2018 in this publication), -4 (November 2017) and -8 (July 2017) 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 March 2018 was 65%, covering an estimated 92% of the total value of intra-EU trade (these response rates will have increased by the next time data for March 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

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.

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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