Saturday 25 February 2017

Manufacturing up as foreign and domestic orders increase

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Both output and employment rose at a faster pace than in April. Photo: PA
Both output and employment rose at a faster pace than in April. Photo: PA

The rate of new manufacturing business quickened in May and was the fastest in three months, a survey showed.

Higher new orders from both domestic and export markets contributed to a further improvement in business conditions at Irish manufacturing firms in May, according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index for the sector.

Both output and employment rose at a faster pace than in April.

Philip O'Sullivan, economist with specialist bank Investec, said last month that nearly four times as many firms added jobs as the number reporting cuts.

He also highlighted benefits from the UK general election result. "At the beginning of May, we identified the then upcoming UK general election as a key risk factor for the manufacturing sector here, given that opinion polls had been pointing to a hung parliament and a resultant period of political uncertainty, with all that this would entail for sterling," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"In the event, the surprise overall majority achieved by the Conservatives has removed that risk, with the renewed strength in the pound relative to the single currency since the election providing a renewed tailwind for the 15pc of Irish merchandise exports that go to Ireland's next-door neighbour."

The seasonally adjusted PMI rose to 57.1 in May from 55.8 in April to signal a substantial strengthening of business conditions during the month. The reading was the highest in three months, with operating conditions now having improved throughout the past two years.

The rate of growth in new business also accelerated in May and was the fastest in three months.

New export orders also rose sharply, with the weakness in the euro mentioned by some panellists reporting an increase.

Irish Independent

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