Irish manufacturing growth ends 2017 at record high

Irish manufacturing growth ends 2017 at record high

The country's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) came in at 51.6 in December, slightly decelerating from 51.8 in November, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data released Sunday.

A private survey that focuses on small and medium-sized firms in showed that manufacturing activity picked up at a slower pace in November. This was consistent with the strongest improvement in the health of the sector since December 2012.

Ireland's economy is nearly certain to have been the strongest performer in Europe for the fourth straight year, while unemployment has been on a steady downtrend since 2011.

A PMI sub-reading for production fell to 54 from 54.3 in November, but was bang in line with the average over the last six months.

The official nonmanufacturing PMI, which covers the nation's services and construction sectors, rose to 55 in December from 54.8 in the previous month.

"The outlook is also reasonably bright, with over 50 percent of companies expecting production to be higher one year from now". According to anecdotal evidence, new business inflows were underpinned by greater demand from home and worldwide markets.

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In response to greater inflows of new orders, good producers were encouraged in December to engage in input buying at the sharpest rate since August 2015.

"The goods-producing economy carries strong momentum into 2018, with new order growth at its highest for nearly eight years and rising backlogs of work pointing to the need for further expansion in capacity", Smith added. Anecdotal evidence pointed to stronger market demand from home and global markets.

Moreover, as consumer spending recuperated, firms were restricted in their ability to pass on higher cost burdens to clients which further placed upward pressure on firms' margins.

Smith said the PMI not only posted the highest reading ever recorded since the survey began in 1996, but its current 37-month sequence of improving business conditions also beat the previous record set in the runup to the financial crisis.

"Challenges remain as the economy adjusts to recent shocks, but the overall upturn was robust compared to the trend observed for the survey history", Dodhia said.

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