Manufacturing sector continues return to form

Sector recorded its 13th consecutive month of growth in June

New orders rose at the fastest pace in over three years in June, with the UK and Asia key sources of growth in export business during the month. Photgraph: Getty

New orders rose at the fastest pace in over three years in June, with the UK and Asia key sources of growth in export business during the month. Photgraph: Getty

Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 09:30

FIONA REDDAN

Irish manufacturing activity recorded its 13th consecutive month of growth in June, with new orders rising at the fastest pace in over three years.

According to Investec’s Purchasing Managers Index, (PMI), an indicator designed to provide a single-figure measure of the health of the manufacturing industry, it posted 55.3 in June, up slightly from 55.0 in May, signaling the 13th successive monthly improvement in operating conditions in the sector.

The rate of expansion in manufacturing new orders accelerated in June and was the strongest since February 2011.

Philip O’Sullivan, chief economist with Investec Ireland, said that the sharp increase in new orders was attributed to improving economic conditions and higher demand from abroad, with the rate of growth in new export orders rising to the highest level in over three years. The UK and Asia were cited as key sources of growth in export business during the month.

Employment growth moderated from May’s high (which was the fastest rate of growth recorded since December 1999) but remained robust. Staffing levels have now grown for thirteen successive months.

While output prices improved for the first time in six months, the rate of increase was very marginal (with over 90 per cent of firms reporting no change in prices) amid continued competitive pressures. In addition, cost inflation remained present, driven by higher steel costs, albeit at a slightly slower rate than in May.