Michael Noonan got a last-minute piece of good news yesterday ahead of tomorrow's Budget when the latest NCB Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index suggested the manufacturing sector continued to expand in November.
Yesterday's report suggests manufacturing saw growth for the ninth successive month in November after the index of national factory activity came in at 52.4 compared with 52.1 the previous month. NCB Stockbrokers said export orders from the US and the UK rose during the month.
The same survey for the eurozone as a whole rose to 46.2 in November from October's 45.4. That suggests problems are receding slightly but the reading was still below the 50 mark dividing growth from contraction for the 16th straight month.
US manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November to its lowest level in more than three years, as companies worried about whether lawmakers in Washington could reach a budget deal in time avert a crisis that many fear could lead to a recession.
It fell to 49.5 in November from 51.7 the month before. The reading was shy of expectations of 51.3, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
Economists said the November slide may have been aggravated by Superstorm Sandy.