CSO: NI exports to Republic up by £1bn in first ten months of 2021

Data from the Republic's CSO indicates northern firms sold £1billion more goods during the first ten months of 2021 compared to 2020. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

AN extra £1 billion of goods was exported from Northern Ireland to the Republic in the first ten months of 2021, according to new official trade data from the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO).

North-south exports reached €3.3 billion between January and October, an increase of €1.3bn (£1.1bn) or 63 per cent on the same period in 2020.

It follows the introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol in January 2021, which introduced new checks on goods moving across the Irish Sea.

Goods moving from the Republic to the north are up by €922 (£784m) to €2.9bn (£2.5bn) over the same period, a rise of 46 per cent.

However new data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) has revealed how the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted trade in 2020.

Exports by Northern Ireland firms fell by 12.6 per cent, or £1.5 billion last year. The figure comprises sales to the Republic, rest of Europe and the rest of the World.

Nisra uses different methodology to the Republic’s CSO, which puts a higher value on goods exported across the border.

But the statistics body said its figures may be subject to revision due to the pandemic’s impact on data collection.

Nisra's trade data for 2021 won't be published until the end of 2022.

The latest Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics (BESES) indicates goods worth £4.1bn moved north to south in 2020, down by 9.7 per cent from 2019 or £400m.

It states sales to Britain increased 0.7 per cent (£100m) in 2020 to £10.9bn

Sales to the rest of Europe fell by £300m (10.7 per cent) to £2.2bn, while exports of the rest of the World dropped £800m (16.3 per cent) to £4bn.

Nisra said manufacturing accounted for just over 58 per cent (£6bn) of all exports in 2020.

Commenting on the latest CSO data, Jarlath O'Keefe, a tax specialist at Grant Thornton, said it showed businesses on the island adjusting their supply chains to avoid the administrative burden associated with importing goods from Britain post-Brexit.

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