New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that Ireland’s goods imports from Britain fell by 65% in January compared to the same time last year.

The CSO said that imports from Britain fell to €497m from €1.403 billion and accounted for 9% of total imports.

Exports to Britain were also lower, falling by 14% to €946m in January, the CSO said.

The CSO said a combination of factors contributed to the large reduction in imports from the UK in January, including the challenges of complying with customs requirements.

Other factors were the stockpiling of goods in the fourth quarter of 2020 in preparation for Brexit, substitution with goods from other countries and a reduction in trade volumes due to the impact of Covid-19 related restrictions during the month.

Overall, the value of seasonally adjusted goods imports decreased by €907m or 12% to €6.606 billion in January 2021 compared with December 2020, according to today’s preliminary figures from the CSO.

The fall was driven by a 75% drop in imports of food and live animals, and a 71% decline in imports of mineral fuels, such as petroleum and natural gas.

Imports of chemicals and of machinery and transport equipment also both fell by more than half.

The value of goods exports increased by €188m (1%) to €13.024 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis.

This resulted in an increase of €1.096 billion (21%) in the seasonally adjusted trade surplus to €6.418 billion in January 2021 compared with the previous month.

Today’s figures show that the EU accounted for 34% of total exports in January.

Exports to EU countries in January 2021 decreased by 23% compared with the same time last year.

The US was the main non-EU destination accounting for 37% of total exports in January.

Meanwhile, imports from the EU made up 39% of total imports in January, a decrease of 13% over the same month in 2020.

The US with 13%, Switzerland with 12% and China with 8% were the main non-EU sources of imports.