Rate of expansion in manufacturing sector eases
THE rate of expansion in the manufacturing sector eased last month as both output and new orders increased at weaker rates.
While new orders increased for the fifth successive month, the rate of growth slowed sharply, according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) from specialist bank Investec.
The headline rate still remained in growth territory, however, registering 52.4 in November. But this was down from 54.9 in the previous month.
This signalled a further improvement in business conditions, although it was the weakest in three months.
Anything above 50 indicates expansion, while below that figure signals contraction.
Investec economist Philip O'Sullivan said that while the rate of growth had softened in November, October's reading was the highest in two-and-a-half years.
"The overall pace of expansion in both new orders and new export orders softened last month," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"While this move is unwelcome, we take some comfort from the fact that five out of every six respondents reported either increased or unchanged new export orders during November, while three quarters of respondents reported either increased or unchanged New Orders.
"Respondents who reported growth from overseas markets chiefly attributed this to the US and UK"
Employment continued to increase in November, with the rate of job creation only slightly weaker than October's 16 month high.
Staffing levels have increased continuously since June, with respondents reporting that higher new orders had been behind the increase in employment.
The survey is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in around 285 industrial companies across the country.
Purchasing Managers' Indices are watched closely by analysts and are regarded as reliable forward looking indicators of activity in the economy.