Alarm over no-deal Brexit fuels stockpiling
Irish manufacturers have continued to stockpile inventory as the threat of a no-deal Brexit poses increasing potential challenges to supply lines.
According to the AIB Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) published this morning, stockpiling continued in March at the fastest pace in the 21-year history of the survey.
The index for February also showed manufacturers were feverishly stockpiling inventory to cope with the potential fallout from Brexit.
"Anecdotal evidence from panellists indicated that a number of firms had brought forward stock purchases to secure supplies in the event of any Brexit supply disruptions," according to the AIB report.
The PMI is designed to provide a measure of the health of the country's manufacturing sector.
Any reading above 50 signifies expansion, while below that indicates a contraction in the sector.
The latest AIB reading was 53.9 in March, which is down from 54 in February.
But AIB said the March figure still signalled a "solid improvement in operating conditions" amongst manufacturing firms here.
The sector has expanded on a monthly basis for almost six years.
AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan said that the sector was boosted in March by a pick-up in new export orders due to increased foreign demand.
"Meanwhile, employment in the sector rose at its fastest rate since October," he added.
"Business optimism in manufacturing remains very upbeat, hitting a three-month high, though the rate of output growth did ease slightly in March."