Friday 24 February 2017

Output rises by more than 15pc in one year -- new CSO figures

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

IRISH manufacturing output was 15.7pc higher in November than in the same month the previous year, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Exports, particularly of pharmaceuticals, led the trend but some industries including computer manufacturing recorded sharp falls.

Industrial output actually fell 4.1pc in the period from September to November compared to the previous three months. However the fall-off in output dampens rather than reverses the year on year trend of rising output.

On an annual basis manufacturing output was up 15.7pc by November and total industrial production was up 14.2pc.

"The bottom line is that external demand will be key to how Irish manufacturers perform in the coming months. Any weakening of the global economy will clearly have an adverse impact on output/exports," according to Alan McQuaid of Bloxham Stockbrokers

The year-on-year trends are especially welcome after Ireland saw industrial output fall 3.9pc in 2009 and 4.3pc in 2008.

The export oriented "modern sector" including pharmaceuticals and hi-tech industries, has recorded year-on-year growth of 21.7pc.

Even within the broad category of modern exports there are wide variations. Manufacturing of computer, electronic and optical equipment, for example, was 18pc lower in November 2010 than the same period in 2009. Growth in traditional manufacturing which includes food and drinks manufacturing is slower at just 3.2pc year on year.

The trend is positive, however. The traditional sector has now recorded seven months of growth that follows a two-and-a-half year period of decline.

Policy makers will be delighted with the trends recorded by the CSO, but the reality is that Ireland can do little to stimulate demand abroad. Instead, the focus is on making it cheaper to do business here.

According to Alan McQuaid, Irish manufacturers are benefiting from the decline in wages and prices across the economy. He warned, however, of potential fall out if demand falls in the highly cyclical chemicals sector which now accounts for half of all exports.

Irish Independent

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