* Exports jump 15 pct mth/mth in May, rise 11 pct yr/yr
* Impact of patent expiry on drugs exports fading
* Separate data shows continued recovery in construction
DUBLIN, July 14 Irish exports rose by 15 percent
month-on-month in May to reach their highest level in 18 months,
adding to recent data that points to a broadening economic
Ireland's economy grew by 2.7 percent in the first quarter
of the year, recovering from a disappointing end to 2013 as
improving employment figures began to feed through and exports
recovered from a slump.
Exports, which held up during much of Ireland's financial
crisis, struggled last year due to the mixed economic picture in
Europe and the expiry of patents among the large cluster of
drugs companies located in the country.
Goods exports rose to 7.9 billion euros ($10.8 billion) on a
seasonally adjusted basis in May, the Central Statistics Agency
said on Monday, and were driven by pharmaceutical goods as the
impact of the so-called "patent cliff" appeared to be easing.
Exports rose 11 percent in May from a year earlier, the data
Separate data on Monday also showed continued recovery in
the battered Irish construction sector as the Ulster Bank
Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of activity stayed well above
the 50 point line denoting growth for the 10th successive month.
Ireland's government is targeting economic growth of 2.1
percent this year. Economists polled by Reuters are a touch more
positive and are forecasting a 2.3 percent expansion.
"The recovery that we're seeing in the U.S., the UK, even in
the euro zone, where at least there is growth, really just
underpins a very much improving story around the Irish economy,"
Investec's Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said.
"With all three PMIs for Ireland simultaneously above 50 for
10 months now, that suggests there is a very broad recovery
taking place right across the Irish private sector," he said,
referring to PMI surveys for the construction, manufacturing and
($1 = 0.7331 euros)
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Susan Fenton)