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Manufacturing sector growth

IRELAND is powering ahead in the manufacturing sector and was one of the few countries to register growth last month.

Production fell back in both Europe and Asia but the NCB purchasing managers index (PMI) in Ireland showed expansion for the fifth month in a row.

The index is widely viewed as a key indicator of the health of any economy and grew to 51.8 in September from 50.9 in August.

The growth was mainly driven in the area of new orders which have now expanded every month since February. That drove output, which has now grown every month since April.

However, new orders for export contracted for the first time in six months.

NCB's chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said: "This is likely to be driven to some extent by the well-documented challenges facing many of Ireland's key trading partners".

The survey indicated that companies reported "weak client demand in export markets".