Irish factory activity expands in February as order books improve

(Alliance News) - Ireland's manufacturing sector swung back to growth in February, survey results ...

Alliance News 1 March, 2024 | 8:22AM
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(Alliance News) - Ireland's manufacturing sector swung back to growth in February, survey results suggested on Friday.

The AIB manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 52.2 points in February from 49.5 in January. Rising above the 50-point no-change mark, it shows the sector returned to growth for the first time since August last year.

The data indicated stronger business activity, with growth in production quickening to the fastest pace in 22 months thanks to improving order books.

"The output index rose to its highest level since April 2022, on the back of a strong upturn in domestic demand, with new orders rising for the first time in three months. While new export orders were lower, owing to softer UK demand, the decline was marginal on the month. The rise in output and new orders in the sector prompted manufacturers to take on new staff at an accelerated pace," said David McNamara, AIB chief economist.

However, McNamara noted that despite largely positive developments over the month, the disruption stemming from the Red Sea crisis was a "concerning trend". Respondents blamed the resulting shipping disruption for longer delivery times and higher input prices, and raised output prices in response.

The PMI is compiled by S&P Global from the responses to a questionnaire sent to 250 Irish manufacturers, with data collected in the second half of the month.

By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News deputy news editor

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