Business Irish

Monday 11 December 2017

Hi-tech companies drive up industrial production

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

INDUSTRIAL production increased last month driven by hi-tech and chemical companies.

Production for manufacturing industries was 3.2pc higher in April than in March, with the chemical and high technology sectors showing a monthly increase of 7.8pc.

The 'traditional sector' increased by just 0.2pc.

Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers said manufacturing growth in the short-term was expected to be driven primarily by industries under the 'modern' umbrella.

"Given the still uncertain global economic backdrop, the worry is production will remain subdued, which doesn't augur well for the prospects of Irish merchandise exports," he said.

On an annual basis, industrial production increased 1.5pc on April last year.

Meanwhile it comes as figures show Ireland's manufacturing sector shrunk for the third month in a row.

Output, new orders and employment decreased at weaker rates during May, according to the latest Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).

The index was at 49.7 last month. The PMI measures the health of the Irish manufacturing industry on a single-figure scale. Anything over 50 signals growth, while less than 50 indicates contraction.

But Philip O'Sullivan of Investec said the pace of decline had fallen to its slowest since the index slipped below the 50 mark in March.

"The PMI reading, at 49.7, indicates activity may be beginning to stabilise; however, a return to the pace of growth during 2012 may be months away," Mr O'Sullivan said.

Irish Independent

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