Northern Ireland exports hit £2.3bn as decline of sterling makes goods cheaper
Exports of Northern Ireland products, from food to pharmaceuticals, were up 12% in the three months to June compared to the same period in 2016, according to the latest data.
There were £2.3bn in export sales in the second quarter, up from £1.9bn in 2016 and from £2.2bn the quarter before.
HMRC's regional trade statistics also show that the Republic was the biggest market, with exports of £2.5bn over the year to June 2017.
And that market also provided the biggest increase in export volume at 14% over the year to June 2017, as the fall in value of sterling following the European Union referendum made Northern Ireland's goods cheaper to buy.
The Republic was also Northern Ireland's main source of imports, worth £2bn over the year.
Imports from the Republic were up 1.4%, but imports from the Netherlands brought the biggest increase, at 37%.
Canada was Northern Ireland's second-largest export partner in growth terms, with exports up 13% to reach £0.4bn.The US also showed strong growth as a trading partner at 10.4%, with exports worth £1.8bn over the year - making it our second-biggest market.
And of EU member states, exports to France from Northern Ireland were up 8% to reach £0.4bn, while German exports were of the same value but had grown by 4.8%.
Machinery and transport equipment was the most valuable commodity for export in NI, with sales in that category of £2.7bn over the year to June, a rise of 8.1% on the year before.
The category of chemicals and related products was the next most valuable, with a value of £1.7bn - up 13.2%. The category of 'miscellaneous manufactured materials' saw the second-strongest growth, up 16.6% to a value of £1.3bn.
But the export of food and live animals brought sales of £1.2bn, which was up 18.7% and the strongest category of growth.
All four UK nations saw an increase in their volume of exports, with England's main export partner being the US.
But the EU market of France brought the largest value increase in exports to England and Wales over the year, while China brought the biggest value increase in exports to Scotland.