Economy

Ireland Factory Growth Hits Record High

Ireland Factory Growth Hits Record High

Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said "The Vietnamese manufacturing sector recorded a welcome return to growth of output in December, supported by a solid and accelerated increase in new orders". The index has held above the 50 line separating growth from contraction for every month since November 2013.

Moreover, this pointed to the most marked improvement in the health of the sector since the survey began in May 1998.

Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of manufacturing companies stood at 55.8 in December, down from 56.1 in November and compared with a Reuters poll of 56.3.

Despite these additional resources and a slight uptick in stocks of finished goods, manufacturers' backlogs of work increased for an eighth successive month in December.

Foreign demand also expanded at its quickest pace since June.

Manufacturing activity has remained above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction since June 2013 when Ireland was approaching the end of a three-year worldwide bailout programme.

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Delivery time of suppliers continued to be extended in December.

Finally, the Future Output Index signalled the strongest level of confidence in three months, with more than one-in-five survey participants forecasting higher production. Although the rate of inflation quickened to a 10-month high, it was modest and weaker than the long-run series average.

"Strong business performance was underpinned by the fastest expansions in output and new orders since December 2012 and October 2016, respectively".

The uptrend was driven by stronger market demand from home and worldwide markets, Dodhia added.

"Given the strong conditions evident in the manufacturing sector, it is no surprise to see that firms are upbeat about the outlook", Philip O'Sullivan, economist with Investec, said.