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Ireland’s Food Exports Climbed to Record in 2012 on Asian Demand

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Ireland’s food and drink exports last year climbed above 9 billion euros ($12 billion) for the first time, aided by rising shipments to Asia, Bord Bia said.

Meat and livestock made up the biggest export sector, with shipments valued at 2.99 billion euros in 2012, up 4 percent from a year earlier, the Dublin-based trade development organization said today in a statement on its website. Seafood was up 18 percent to 493 million euros and beverages climbed 3 percent from 2011 to 1.26 billion euros. Horticulture and cereal shipments climbed by about 2 percent, while dairy and prepared food exports fell from 2011.

Irish food exports have recorded an “exceptionally strong performance” in recent years, with shipments to Asia rising by 75 percent since 2010, Bord Bia said. The weakening euro has increased the appeal of Irish goods for buyers in the U.K. and in other countries outside the euro zone.

“Despite falling global commodity prices, lower output in some sectors and the continued weakness in consumer spending in established markets, the Irish food industry has delivered another robust export performance,” Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia’s chief executive, said in the statement. “The continued diversification into new and emerging markets, benefiting further from favorable exchange rates, is particularly welcoming.”

Export prospects “remain positive” for 2013 as Ireland’s beef production is set to increase while “more stable” world commodity prices are expected, according to the statement. In a Bord Bia survey completed last month, 77 percent of exporters reported their sales rose during the past year, and 75 percent expected another increase in 2013, the group said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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