Manufacturing sector hits 15-month high

Ireland’s manufacturing sector continued to improve during July — hitting a 15-month high and comfortably outperforming the rest of the eurozone and the world, in the process.

The latest manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) from NCB Stockbrokers shows a 53.9 point reading for last month; comfortably ahead of the 50 point mark — which divides a sector in decline from one on the rise — and up on the 53.1 point reading posted in June.

July’s performance — strongly boosted by the fastest rise in new business orders for 15 months — marked the fifth consecutive month of growth in manufacturing, following eight out of nine monthly falls in business activity up to February.

“Higher new orders was reportedly the main reason for the latest increase in production, with rising new export business highlighted, in particular, by respondents,” NCB’s survey said.

It said the recent good run of form for the index points to “progressively stronger improvements in operating conditions” in Ireland.

New orders from abroad rose at their sharpest pace since May of last year; with anecdotal evidence suggesting non-European markets had been a particular source of growth. Total new orders also sped up in July, rising at their sharpest pace for 15 months.

Irish manufacturing firms continued to take on new staff; meaning employment in the sector has now risen in each of the past five months. According to NCB: “Although the rate of job creation eased from June’s 12-and-a-half year high, it remained solid. Respondents pointed to greater production requirements as the main reason for rising staffing levels.”

The latest positive Irish survey results co-incided with poor showings for much of the rest of Europe and beyond.

Manufacturing industries, across the eurozone suffered their eleventh consecutive month of decline in July with Italy, Spain and Greece bearing much of the brunt. France and Germany also showed declines. Britain’s manufacturing PMI fell to a three-year low. Manufacturing also declined across Asia.

China’s July PMI fell to an eight-month low of 50.1 points; although manufacturing in the US returned to growth levels last month following a dip below the neutral 50 point mark in June.


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