Saturday 20 January 2018

Exports drive 12.1pc rise in output

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Industry remains the bright spot in the economy, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The Irish manufacturing sector's output was 12.1pc higher in September compared with the same time last year.

The trend in the sector over the past number of quarters has been increasingly strong, according to Brian Devine of NCB Stockbrokers.

On a quarterly basis, industrial output was 2.4pc higher in the three months to September compared with the previous three months.

Output was 8pc higher than in the same three months in 2009.

Exports are at the heart of the trend, according to Mr Devine. He said the CSO data tallied with research on manufacturing released by his firm earlier this month.

Demand from abroad for hi-tech manufacturing has been strong for some time and is driving the trend.

Traditional sectors shipping to Britain have been more sensitive to weakness in sterling in recent months.

The steady pace of industrial growth while other sectors of the economy are shrinking means the sector accounts for more than a quarter of GDP, according to figures from NCB Stockbrokers. In 2007, industrial manufacturing accounted for 20pc of GDP, although of a bigger economy.

Improved exports are better for everyone, but a real pick-up in the economy will have to wait for a bounce in the services sector that drives domestic demand.

According to the CSO, the pharmaceutical and food sectors were the biggest risers in September. Production of basic pharmaceuticals was up almost 15pc; food production rose 11.4pc.

The 'Modern' sector, including hi-tech goods and chemicals, was up 13.5pc. Traditional manufacturing rose 6.5pc.

But job creation remains difficult. There were 198,600 people employed in manufacturing at the end of June, compared with 206,200 a year earlier.

Irish Independent

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