Industrial output falls by 2.3pc
INDUSTRIAL production unexpectedly fell 2.3pc in February after rising 0.1pc in January, the Central Statistics Office said yesterday.
It was the biggest fall since August 2010 and highlights the mixed economic picture which is emerging for the first quarter of 2011, following the coldest winter in years and the worst recession in decades.
On an annual basis, production was up 0.2pc than in the same month last year, despite a decline in production from the 'modern' sector, which slipped by 0.8pc from a year earlier. Production in the 'traditional' sector rose 0.6pc.
The three-month figure from December to February showed a 0.4pc increase compared with the previous three months. Most economists tend to look at the three-month figure because Irish industrial production figures can be erratic. The most significant annual changes were declines in food products along with computer and electronic products. While most industrial production is exported, some is destined for the home market, which remains weak.
"Business spending on machinery and equipment shows few signs of bottoming," Bank of Ireland economist Dan McLaughlin said yesterday. He expects total capital spending to fall 12pc this year.