Manufacturing grows for consecutive month


The Irish manufacturing sector expanded marginally for the second successive month, according to the latest NCB survey.

The NCB Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose slightly to 50.5 in March, from 50.4 the previous month. However, it remained close to the critical no-change mark of 50 that divides contraction and expansion.

In overall terms, manufacturing order books expanded for the third consecutive month in March. The NCB said the rate of growth of new orders remained subdued.

With panel firms generally reporting increased demand from a number of European countries during the month, much of the improvement in order books was attributed to the rise in export orders – which also increased for the third month running and at the fastest pace since November 2000.

Of the five components used in the calculation of the PMI, output and new orders - which tend to act as leading indicators as to the health of the manufacturing economy) both recorded growth during the month.

NCB economist Mr Eunan King said: "With the overall PMI index above 50 for the second consecutive month, and well off its October 2001 low, the recovery in Irish manufacturing industry is clearly well under way".

"The recovery is being led by growth in export orders where the reading of 53 in March was the highest since November 2000," he said.