Industrial output falls again as slowdown continues
THERE are further signs of a slowdown in manufacturing as new data shows industrial output was up by less than a third of 1pc in May compared with the same period a year earlier.
Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, total industrial output was 1.4pc lower in the three months to the end of May compared with the preceding three-month period.
The figures bear out earlier indications of a slowdown, particularly in hi-tech sectors. It's the latest blow to hopes that booming exports alone will kick-start economic growth.
Output from the modern sector fell 1.5pc in the year to the end of May, while traditional industries, including food processing, are up 4.4pc. Electronic components, down 15.1pc, and electrical equipment, down 23.6pc, are the worst performers. Other modern sectors have performed well, however, including a 20pc increase in chemicals production.
The traditional sector recorded an increase in output for the tenth straight month .
This sector includes buoyant agri-foods businesses, boosted by growing population and a global increase in commodity prices. Food production was up 6.7pc, including a rise of 19pc in the bakery segment.
In overall terms, manufacturing output was 2.8pc higher in the year to the end of May than for the same time last year.
"The figures in the first five months of the year are somewhat disappointing, and a lot will depend on what happens to the world economy and global demand in the next few months," said Alan McQuaid of Bloxham Stockbrokers.
He said manufacturing output had fallen back from an average growth rate of 8.3pc for last year, but still expects output to continue to increase.
"Volumes are expected to expand solidly, by 3pc to 5pc in both 2011 and 2012 as the global economic recovery regains momentum. With domestic demand so weak it is vital that the manufacturing/export sector continues to expand, which we think it will," he said.
NCB Stockbrokers' Brian Devine said the figures are in line with weaker data from the US and from China.