Irish manufacturing growth slows in November
Factory activity in euro zone accelerates at fastest pace in over two years
The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 52.4 in November from 54.9 in October. Photograph: Alan Betson
Growth in the Irish manufacturing sector slowed for the first time in seven months in November as the expansion in new orders and output weakened, a survey showed today.
Ireland pulled out of recession in the second quarter and though growth remains anaemic, indicators have pointed to a pick-up next year after the country exits the bailout programme later this month.
The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for Ireland fell to 52.4 in November from 54.9 in October, remaining above the 50 line dividing growth from contraction.
It was the sixth successive month of expansion following a three-month dip to the end of May.
“While most components, when benchmarked against the buoyant October outturn, point to a slower pace of expansion in November, the underlying narrative remains intact,” Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said.
“The manufacturing sector in Ireland continues to grow, and we see this trend extending in 2014 on the back of an improving international and domestic economic backdrop.”
While the pace of new export orders fell to 54.1 from 56.6, five of every six respondents either increased or maintained their level of new export orders, gains chiefly attributed to the US and British markets, the survey’s authors said.
Buoyant demand for manufactured goods drove euro zone factory activity to accelerate at its fastest pace in over two years last month and allowed firms to build up a small backlog of work.
But that growth was still weak and Markit said evidence of a renewed downturn in France and Spain - as well as firms cutting staff - was disappointing.
“The November manufacturing PMI surveys bring good news on the whole, but suggest there’s still a lot to worry about in terms of the health of the euro zone economy. The big concern is France,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing PMI rose to 51.6 last month from October’s 51.3, just pipping an earlier flash reading of 51.5. An index measuring output nudged up to 53.1 from 52.9.
November was the fifth month the index was above the 50 level that denotes growth, and the reading was the highest since June 2011.
“More southerly countries continue to disappoint, though, especially France and Spain, where renewed downturns are evident,” Mr Williamson said.
France’s PMI plummeted to a five-month low of 48.4 from 49.1, chalking up its 21st month below 50, while Spain’s sank back below the break-even mark after spending the last three months in growth territory.
Data from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, showed factories there had their best month since mid-2011. Italian figures showed manufacturing there also picked up speed.