Friday 15 December 2017

Output grew at fastest pace for nine months in August

Thomas Molloy

Manufacturing output grew at its fastest pace for nine months in the year to August, as the economy gained momentum thanks to export-driven growth in the food and drink sector.

Manufacturing output jumped to a seasonally adjusted 11.4pc year-on-year, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said yesterday. The figures tend to be erratic but economists said the strong showing was good news. Total industrial production was 10.4pc higher in the year, the CSO added.

The new figures "were a lot stronger than expected, and a very positive development", Bloxham's Alan McQuaid said.


The economy has demonstrated signs of growth with the so-called traditional economy exporting once again as manufacturers turn to foreign markets to replace demand in the sagging domestic economy.

While this has led to unexpectedly strong growth in the first six months of the year, economists caution that the economy may begin to slow again as the world economy stumbles.

"A lot will depend on what happens to the world economy and global demand in the next few months," Mr McQuaid added.

"Although the omens don't look too good on that front at the moment, Ireland's focus on relatively recession-hardy exports such as pharmaceuticals and its improving competitiveness should help it weather the storm better than most."

The country's high-technology and chemical industries showed a year-on-year rise in production for August of 10.2pc while the "traditional" sector (which includes food and beverages) posted an increase of 10.8pc, reversing the annual fall in the two previous months.

The "traditional" sector has out-performed the "modern" sector in the year so far.

"The bottom line is the home-based industries, which in the past had served to weigh down the performance of manufacturing overall, have strengthened their position over the past 18 months or so, helped by reduced unit labour costs, which have enabled them to become more competitive," Mr McQuaid added.

Irish Independent

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