IRISH manufacturing output grew at the slowest pace in nine months in December, according to the latest Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) from IHS Markit.
The PMI, an indicator designed to provide a single-figure measure of the health of the manufacturing industry, posted 54.5 in December, down from 55.4 in November. Any reading above 50 shows growth.
Despite this, stocks of purchases increased at the fastest rate in 49 months as firms, confident in future market conditions, stockpiled preproduction inventories.
Underpinning the drop in the headline index was a slowdown in new order growth among Irish manufacturers, to the weakest in eight months.
That said, the rate of increase was solid, and December marked the 29th successive month of new-order growth.
Additionally, panellists stated they had experienced improved export demand from the UK and the Middle East. Manufacturers responded to the increase in new orders by raising production in December.
However, mirroring new orders, the rate of expansion of output eased and was the slowest in nine months.
Elsewhere, sentiment improved in December to the most positive in three months.