Production levels fell by ‘only’ 1.7%

A YEAR-ON-YEAR fall of “only” 1.7% in production levels among manufacturing and exporting firms in February, shows a certain level of resilience after a tough showing at the end of last year.

That was the view of employers group, IBEC, in light of latest industrial production and turnover figures published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office.

February’s decline followed a 0.1% annualised increase in January and a whopping 12.7% decline in December.

“It would seem that the Irish manufacturing industry is holding up fairly well at the moment, given the global recession and what’s happening in other countries — such as Germany, which has seen a collapse in output over the first quarter of this year,” said IBEC’s chief economist, David Croughan, yesterday.

Once again, it was the so-called modern sector — which comprises a number of high-tech and chemical sub-sectors — that buoyed production, rising by just under 4%, while the traditional sector suffered a 15% year-on-year decline.

“It just reflects the difficulties that sector is facing with the sterling differential,” Mr Croughan added.

IBEC is to continue its lobbying of Government for a diversion of National Development Plan expenditure into enterprise supports.

“We already asked Government for added enterprise support in the budget — through things like moves to help reduce employers’ PRSI and introducing a marketing grant for export-exposed companies,” Mr Croughan said.

“In all, we were looking for around e1 billion to be diverted, but Government’s response has been muted at best and this week’s budget only earmarked e50 million this year and next for such supports, which is a far cry from what is needed.”


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