FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan got a last minute piece of good news ahead of this week's Budget after the latest NCB Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index suggested that the economy continued to expand in November.
Today's report suggests the economy saw growth for the ninth successive month in November after the seasonally-adjusted index came in at 52.4 compared to 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.
"The ongoing steep pace of manufacturing decline suggests that the region's recession will have deepened in the final quarter of the year, extending into a third successive quarter," said Chris Williamson, chief economist from survey compiler Markit.
On the plus side, the manufacturing PMI seems to have bottomed out in July, suggesting things are looking a little bit brighter, Mr Williamson added.
Other figures published today for other parts of the world were ominous.
Brazil, the world's six-largest economy by most measures, posted disappointing growth in the third quarter, suggesting emerging markets are getting dragged into the world economy's slowdown. China also showed signs of uneven growth. Figures for the US will be released later today.