EAMON QUINN: Best month for Irish manufacturing since Brexit

Irish manufacturing delivered its best news yet since the UK voted to quit the EU, as output, new orders and new hirings quickened pace last month, according to the latest survey of purchasing managers. A survey of consumer sentiment, which was also released yesterday, was less upbeat, however.

Philip O’Sullivan, chief economist at Investec Ireland, said it was heartening that factories here reported a pick-up in new export orders.

“While the rate of expansion in new orders ticked up in November, the real highlight was a marked improvement in the new export orders component, with panellists reporting increased demand from customers in Asia, Europe and the US,” he said.

The overall index rose to 53.7, its highest level for eight months, where any reading above 50 marks an expansion in manufacturing.

Analysts had feared the slump in sterling against the euro since the June vote had significantly crimped demand for Irish exports, and would hit labour-intensive Irish exporters such as food processing firms.

However, Mr O’Sullivan said there was now evidence the “worst of the pressure seen in the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote had passed”.

Meanwhile, the measure of consumer sentiment was almost unchanged last month, said KBC Bank chief economist Austin Hughes, amid concerns that the pace of jobs creation may slow.

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