According to statistics from the Central Statistics Office, when considered on an annual basis, ie September 2013 to September 2014, the value of exports increased by € 568 million (+8%) to € 7,902 million. Imports fell by 3.4 per cent on the month in September, up by 6 per cent on a year-on-year basis,

While Merrion Capital economist Alan McQuaid noted that performance in the first half of 2014 was strong, up 13.1 per cent in volume terms, he said that with signs that the world economy is starting to struggle again, particularly the Eurozone, “there are doubts as to whether Irish merchandise exports will do as well in the second half of this year”.

However David McNamara, analyst with Davy Stockbrokers, said that the monthly trade data “are not as reliable a steer for the national accounts exports as they once were”.

He noted that an emerging trend not captured in the trade data is the prevalence of offshore exports by Irish firms, which means that goods produced abroad and shipped to trade partners for Irish companies are now counted as Irish exports in the GDP numbers. “In particular, the trade data in H1 failed to capture a surge in exports associated with these types of exports. With services exports also continuing to benefit from strong FDI flows in the IT sector, we doubt that the latest trade data signal a slowdown in export growth in the second half of the year,” he said.