Industrial output for March down 5.5pc on same month in 2010
INDUSTRIAL production fell 5.5pc in March compared to the same month last year, as production of electrical equipment, drinks and medicines slid.
Industrial production -- which tracks output from the nation's manufacturing industries, but which can be erratic -- fell as both the modern sector and traditional sector posted declines.
The modern sector posted the biggest decline.
Production was also 1.3pc lower in March than in February, the figures from the Central Statistics Office showed.
Industrial production spiked last summer as factories cranked out pharmaceuticals, but without this spike production has been largely flat.
Economists caution that production figures tend to be volatile, and say that both export figures and the purchasing managers' index imply the economy is doing a little better than yesterday's figures suggest.
The worst monthly falls among the country's major industries were in the pharmaceutical and beverages sectors, which fell 8.7pc and 7.6pc respectively.
Other sectors to post big declines were the wood and paper sectors, and the computer and electrical-equipment sectors. The latter posted a 32.6pc fall.
Looked at on a three-month basis, which often smoothes out fluctuations, the seasonally adjusted volume of industrial production was 0.5pc lower than in the preceding three-month period.
Industrial turnover for manufacturing industries was down by 2.1pc in the three-month period from January to March of this year compared to the preceding three months, according to the seasonally adjusted index.