Manufacturing sales increase by 4%
Provisional figures released today for 2013/14 show that total manufacturing sales (domestic and external) increased by 4.0% over the year to £18.1billion.
External sales (to areas outside Northern Ireland) rose by 5.4% (£733 million) to £14.3billion. This included an increase in manufacturing exports of £491million (8.7%) to £6.1billion, which was largely driven by a rise in sales to the rest of the EU.
Exports to the Republic of Ireland increased by 9.9% (£140million) to £1.6billion. Sales to Great Britain increased by 3.1% (£244million) to £8.2billion, the highest level of such sales on record.
Commenting on the figures Arlene Foster said: “The latest provisional headline results showing a 5.4% increase in manufacturing sales to customers outside Northern Ireland is very encouraging. By this measure, we have once again exceeded the level of the previously recorded peak in external sales activity seen last year. Much of this has been driven by sales to Great Britain, which have reached a record high.
“Exports to the Republic of Ireland increased over the year, and this remains our single largest export market. This is the third consecutive year of increasing sales to the Republic of Ireland, which indicates that this important market is stabilising and improving.
“The growth in exports to the rest of the EU of £206million (16.3%) and also to Rest of World destinations (up by 4.9% or 145million) are also very positive indicators.”
The Minister continued: “Our performance in emerging markets continues to improve and we will continue to focus on growing these markets into the future. However, we must also keep sight of opportunities closer to home as sales to other parts of the United Kingdom are a key driver of economic growth, particularly for our small and medium sized enterprises.
“The Executive remains committed to ensuring our local companies are given the best possible opportunity to develop their exporting capabilities through raising productivity by encouraging investment in skills, research and development and innovation.”