MANUFACTURING expanded again last month, the tenth month in a row of growth.
The NCB Purchasing Managers Index came in at 51.4 in December, down slightly from the 52.4 it posted in November.
The PMI measures the health of the sector in a single figure. Anything over 50 indicates expansion, under 50 indicates contraction.
The one-point drop was due mainly to weaker new orders, on the back of slowing demand and higher energy costs.
“As a result of the strength in exports, total new business grew again in December, albeit at the slowest rate since February," said NCB’s chief economist Philip O’Sullivan.
“The underlying trends remain positive,” he added.
New orders fell to their lowest level since February, but new orders for export hit their highest point since August, with demand coming especially from the United States.
"Output prices remain restricted by competitive pressures but increased in December and look to be getting a little firmer," Mr O'Sullivan said.