Industrial production figures edge down 2% in January

Fri, Mar 8, 2013, 00:00

Industrial production fell in January according to figures published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office. The decline of almost 2 per cent on December is in keeping with a weakening trend in industry since early last summer.

In the second quarter of last year, industrial output hit a post-recession peak. By the final quarter, however, output gains of the previous three years had been reversed and the index of industrial production was at its lowest since the final quarter of 2009. Two factors account for the weakness. First, as most of the output of Irish industry is exported, the renewed downturn in Europe is dampening demand. Export figures corroborate this.

A second factor is the effect on the pharmaceutical sector of the expiration of drug patents a year ago. This industry has come to dominate Irish manufacturing and accounts for more output than all other industries combined. Its output fell sharply in the second half of last year.

Yesterday’s figures point to the regaining of some ground in January, even if production remained well down on peak.