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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Sep 4, 2014 - 12:54 AM

Irish manufacturing PMI at 42-month high; Official data up 3.4% since 2010
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Sep 1, 2014 - 7:25 AM

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Irish manufacturing sector PMI in August rose to a 42-month high as output and new orders each rose at sharper rates. This encouraged firms to up their rates of growth in input buying and employment, according to the survey. Meanwhile, input prices fell for the first time in over a year and firms lowered their output charges - -  this PMI (purchasing managers' Index) survey has not reflected the volatility in the dominant US-owned drugs sector in recent years and CSO data in respect of June showed a rise of 3.5% in industrial production in 12 months and a growth of 3.4% since 2010.

The seasonally adjusted Investec PMI - - an indicator designed to provide a single-figure measure of the health of the manufacturing industry – rose to 57.3 in August from 55.4 in the previous month, and "signalled the sharpest monthly improvement in operating conditions since December 1999." Business conditions have now strengthened in each of the past 15 months.

August is traditionally a holiday month.

A fifteenth consecutive monthly increase in manufacturing production was recorded in August, with the rate of expansion quickening to the sharpest in three-and-a-half years. According to respondents, output growth was primarily driven by increased new orders.

New product lines and strengthening client demand contributed to a substantial increase in new business at Irish manufacturing firms. The rise was the sharpest since December 1999. New export orders also increased at a faster pace, with the UK highlighted in particular as a source of new business.

Part of the sharp rise in production was in order to work through outstanding business. Backlogs of work decreased for the first time in three months. This impacted on finished goods inventories, which fell for the fourth month running.

Markit said increasing demand led manufacturing firms to increase their staffing levels sharply during August, with the rate of job creation quickening to the fastest since May.

Input prices decreased for the first time since July 2013. Lower prices for paper and pulp were reported, while some panellists mentioned weak price pressures in the dairy market. Output prices also fell, ending a two-month sequence of inflation. That said, the pace of reduction was only marginal.

Manufacturers reacted to increasing new business by raising their purchasing activity in August, while there were also suggestions that firms had attempted to build safety stocks. Input buying rose for the seventh month running, and at the sharpest pace since February 2011. Efforts to build stocks were sometimes unsuccessful, however, as inputs were consumed in the production process. Pre-production inventories fell marginally on average.

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