Manufacturing recovery stalls with output down for first time in 3 months

The recent recovery evident in Ireland’s manufacturing sectors stalled in April, with output falling for the first time in three months.

While the latest monthly manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), from NCB Stockbrokers fell from a reading of 51.5 points in March to 50.1 in April, it still remained over the neutral 50 point mark which separates a sector in growth mode from one in decline.

April was only the third time in 11 months when the index was at or above the 50 point mark.

However, the positive manufacturing readings from February and March were still well down on the 56 point average seen here during the first four months of last year, when the economy was up by 1.1%.

Yesterday’s latest PMI did, however, hold some good news. Despite the pace in momentum in manufacturing slowing somewhat, April actually represented a third consecutive month of new business increases. Companies also took on extra staff, with the rate of job creation accelerating at its sharpest for 12 months.

“The domestic part of the economy is starting to look a bit better and Wednesday’s unemployment data should show a further tick down in the unemployment rate.

“The external data though is a drag, particularly from the euro area, and as a result industrial production was down 3.9% in the quarter to last February. The data from Europe is still weak and it’s unlikely that Friday’s industrial production data for March will do enough to alter a first quarter decline,” commented Brian Devine, chief economist with NCB.

Elsewhere, latest figures showed China’s manufacturing industry rising to a 13-month high in April; although it remains too early to know if the world’s second largest economy is set for sustained recovery.

However, the latest monthly manufacturing PMI in Britain showed a marked slowdown in sectoral growth there. That hinted at an elongated recessionary period in the UK.


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