Thursday 23 November 2017

Irish manufacturers 'upbeat' as activity continues to improve - but at a slower rate

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Business conditions have shown a solid improvement in February, although the pace of growth has slowed for the second successive month.

According to the latest Investec manufacturing report, the headline PMI was 53.8 last month - down from 5.5 in January.

Nontheless, Investec said that the report shows strong ongoing client demand, with new orders indicator pointing to sharp growth and a marked improvement in the rate of growth in new export orders.

Manufacturing firms reported a softening in growth in "backlogs of work" for a third successive month, with only a slight increase recorded in February.

However, according to the report, the current five-month sequence of increasing outstanding business is the longest since the series began in September 2002.

Investec believe that the recent sharp growth in hiring in the sector is the main factor behind this moderation.

"Despite the uncertainty alluded to above, Irish manufacturers remain upbeat on the outlook, with more than 15 times as many firms expecting to see output maintained or increased over the coming 12 months as against those who anticipate a decrease," Investec's Philip O'Sullivan said.

"All told, while this report shows that manufacturers are currently under pressure from a number of sources, it is also clear that most firms expect to be able to overcome this and record further growth over the coming year."

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