DUBLIN: Ireland’s trade surplus shrank by nearly a quarter in March to the lowest level since 2008, data showed yesterday in a sign the eurozone nation’s economy remains fragile.
The trade surplus of €2.436bn ($3.341bn) was down 23 percent from the slightly revised figure of €3.168bn in February, the Central Statistics Office said. The figure, which allows for seasonal blips, is the lowest trade surplus since July 2008, in a setback for Dublin’s post-bailout economy.
A trade surplus is one of the main factors of growth in an economy, and Ireland is counting heavily on exports to fuel its economic expansion since emerging from an international bailout programme in December. The severe contraction in March occurred as imports grew and exports fell.
Irish imports grew 12 percent to €4.537bn in March from February, while exports fell by 4.0 percent to €6.973bn, the CSO said.
The Irish economy remains very fragile, with gross domestic product (GDP) falling by 0.3 percent in 2013. AFP