Wednesday 17 January 2018

Irish output hit by creeping global inflation


Donal O'Donovan

Irish manufacturers are struggling to hold back creeping international inflation, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

The latest data shows that producer prices rose in September for the first time since May -- driven upwards by rising commodity and fuel costs in particular.

Prices for both are set abroad, often in dollars, leaving Irish industry a price-taker even if costs are contained in the home economy.

Prices rose by 1.2pc in September compared to August. Prices have been kept in check over the past year, however, and the increase brought prices back to just 0.2pc above the level seen 12 months earlier.

In Germany, producer prices rose more slowly in the month, up just 0.3pc, but prices there have increased a hefty 5.5pc over the last year.

The factory gate prices monitor the price charged for manufactured goods and are regarded as a good measure of competitiveness in the economy.

In Ireland, the biggest annual increase in any sector was seen in the cost of copper pipes, often a good gauge of global construction activity. Copper was up 26pc over the year.

More important to the Irish economy today are rising energy prices -- up 1pc last month and rising 4.1pc over the previous 12 months.

The price of petrol is up 11.2pc over the year.

The largest monthly increases were seen in the IT and food sectors.

The new data shows that currency volatility linked to the euro crisis is now a concern.

Wholesale prices inside Ireland were almost unchanged last month but the price charged for exported goods increased 1.5pc over the same period.

Over the year, however, export prices have fallen more than 2pc while prices for goods sold into the home market are up 4.7pc.

Irish Independent

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