Irish manufacturing expanded at its quickest pace in three months in May to mark two years of non-stop growth as firms increased prices slightly to offset cost pressures, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 57.1 in May from 55.8 in April, just shy of the 15-year high of 57.5 hit in February. The index has held above the 50 line denoting growth since May 2013, when Ireland was in an international bailout programme.
Ireland recovered to become the fastest growing economy in the European Union last year.
The PMI subindex measuring output prices among Irish manufacturers was above the breakeven line for the second month running for the first time in almost a year, with a reading of 50.9 in May, down slightly from 51.8 in April. Manufacturers' costs have risen sharply in the past three months.
"The strength of sterling and the US dollar were once again identified by respondents as the principal factor that is pushing up on costs," said Investec Ireland chief economist, Philip O'Sullivan.
"Despite the cost pressures, the rate of growth in the Quantity of Purchases index quickened to the fastest since February 2011, which gives a further indication of the favourable demand conditions in the sector at this time."
Detailed PMI data are only available under licence from Markit and customers need to apply to Markit for a licence.