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02 January 2018, 11:51 | Melanie Burgess
Source Ai Group
The NBS data also showed that the country's non-manufacturing sector expanded faster in December, with non-manufacturing PMI coming in at 55 in December, up from 54.8 in November.
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 global bailout programme. The December figure was the highest reading since August.
"Although new order growth eased, firms continued to ramp up production and took on extra staff at a near-record pace, reflecting the success they have had in securing new work over recent months", associate director at IHS Andrew Harker said.
The manufacturing sector employed less people as the sub-index of employment dropped 0.3 percentage points month on month to 48.5 in December.
Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the expansion added momentum to a year marked by higher energy prices and the shutdown of Holden and Toyota vehicle production in Australia. This led to a steep increase in output, with production rising for a 17th month. The pace of job creation was the strongest since September.
"However, the level of business sentiment eased from November's 47-month high and remainedweaker than the series average", it said in a note today.
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"Economic growth in 2017 is expected to be higher than a year ago, but it may come under downward pressure in 2018", Zhong added.
"Overall, 2017's economic performance continues to be steady and good, establishing a generally good foundation for 2018", the federation said.
The moderate decline in headline PMI was mainly attributable to the lower inventory, while production growth remained solid despite the "unfavorable working day effect", as there were two fewer working days in December 2017 compared with previous year, said a CICC research report.
"Weak domestic demand was reported as the key reason behind lower volumes of new business, as new export orders rose for the second month in succession".
Costs of raw materials such as oil and steel rose while prices of materials from Chinese suppliers increased, leading to a sharp rise in input costs in December.
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