We are also on Thursday due to get merchandise trade figures for November. Ireland recorded a seasonally-adjusted merchandise trade surplus of €2,971m in October, €245m lower than September’s revised surplus of €3,216m (€3,193m). Seasonally adjusted exports were up 0.4% in the month while imports posted an increase of 6.8%, which may reflect stronger personal consumer spending. <p>

Meanwhile, on an unadjusted basis there was a surplus of €2,882m in October, €260m lower than the surplus of €3,142m posted in October 2012. The cumulative trade surplus in the first ten months of 2013 was €31,794m, €4,406m lower than the total surplus of €36,200m in the same period of 2012.<p>

Overall Irish export growth in goods and services in 2012 was just 1.6%, well below the growth rates of 5.4% and 6.4% in 2011 and 2010 respectively. We are now forecasting a 0.4% fall for total exports in 2013 even allowing for an increase in activity in the latter part of the year, with services up but merchandise down. <p>

<B>As regards the merchandise trade surplus, we are currently projecting a figure of €38bn for 2013, down from €42.5bn in 2012. Meanwhile, a seasonally-adjusted surplus of €3,100m is forecast for December.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>



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