Manufacturing output ‘set to rise’

THIS year, as a whole, should see average growth of 1% to 2% in Irish manufacturing output, according to commentators.

This is despite latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showing a heavy decline as the lasting statistical image of 2009.

The December industrial production and turnover index from the CSO, published yesterday, showed a 5.3% year-on-year fall in the volume of manufacturing output among Irish companies in the final month of last year.

The rolling month-by- month volume decline was 4.8%; while the turnover index detailed a 4% monthly fall and an 18.5% annualised decline.

“Given the pick-up in global demand anticipated this year and the consequent positive outlook for exports, Irish manufacturing output is projected to increase by between 1% and 2% on average in volume terms in 2010.

“Although stronger sterling should help, continued weakness in the traditional sector is, in the first half of the year, likely to act as a drag on the expectedly buoyant modern sector,” according to Bloxham Stockbrokers’ chief economist Alan McQuaid.

December showed a 41.6% fall in the output of computer and electronics products and a near 25% fall for pharmaceutical goods.

The so-called “modern” sector — basically hi-tech and chemical industries — showed an annual decrease in production of 4.1% in December, while the “traditional” sector was down by nearly 8%, year-on-year.

“The industrial output data are consistent with Ireland’s external trade figures, as they clearly show a performance which is better than the global average, but in effect completely driven by the chemicals sector, which can be quite volatile at the best of times.

“Chemicals account for over 50% of Ireland’s merchandise exports, and the fact that the products produced in this industry tend to be less cyclical than other sectors is a huge plus in times of recession,” Mr McQuaid added.


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