Irish Manufacturing Growth At 9-month High

Ireland's manufacturing sector expanded to the fastest pace in nine months in January, led by improvement in output, new orders and jobs, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Monday.

The seasonally adjusted AIB factory Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to 51.4 in January from 49.5 in December. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector.

This was the first reading above the neutral since October, and was the highest since April last year.

The suppliers' delivery times and stocks of purchases components remained stable in January.

New orders rose for the third time in four months, and the pace of growth was the fastest rate since April.

Production rose for the third time in the past nine months in January, and was at the fastest rate since March.

The volume of inputs ordered logged a significant growth for the first time since last April. The rate of growth was slower than that for new work, leading to a drop in stocks of inputs as firms tackled inventories.

Stocks of finished goods decreased in January for the first time in eight months. Employment rose at the beginning of 2020, following a two-month decrease.

Input price inflation slowed to the lowest in forty-two months, and was well below the long-run survey average. The output prices increased at the strongest rate since March, improving profitability in January.

The Future Output Index increased to its largest one-month gain in over three years and signaled the strongest overall sentiment among manufacturers since May, the survey reported.

Confidence was boosted by new products, the installation of new plant machinery and greater certainty regarding Brexit, the survey said.

"However, difficult EU-UK trade talks this year could test this greater optimism, as may the continuing subdued growth prospects for the global economy", Oliver Mangan, AIB Chief Economist, said.

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