Sophomore slump as CSO figures show that British imports fell by nearly two-thirds

Friday, March 19

By Ciarán Mather

Recent figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that Ireland's goods imports from the UK fell by 65 per cent in January compared to the same time last year.

It highlights some notable changes that have arisen as a result of the UK officially activating Article 50 and leaving the Europe (EU).

The CSO revealed that imports from Britain fell to €497 million from €1.403 billion and accounted for 9 per cent of total imports.

It added that exports to Britain were similarly lower, falling by 14 per cent to €946m in January.

Meanwhile, the value of goods exports increased by just 1 per cent, €188m to €13.024 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis. 

This resulted in a 21 per cent increase of €1.096 billion in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €6.418 billion in January 2021 compared with the previous month.

According to the CSO, a combination of factors contributed to the large reduction in imports from the UK in January, including the challenges of complying with customs requirements in the wake of Brexit.  

Other factors included: 

  • The stockpiling of goods in the fourth quarter of 2020 in preparation for Brexit 

  • Substitution with goods from other countries

  • A reduction in trade volumes due to the impact of Covid-19 related restrictions during the month.

In the context of the EU, it accounted for 34 per cent of total exports in January, while exports to EU countries in January 2021 decreased by 23 per cent compared to the same period last year. 

It was also found that the US was the main non-EU destination accounting for 37 per cent of total exports in January, alongside Switzerland (12 per cent) and China (8 per cent).

Overall, the value of seasonally adjusted goods imports decreased by €907 million or 12 per cent to €6.606 billion in January 2021, compared just one month prior in December 2020.