A NEW INDEX recording orders received by manufacturers has shown that new business grew at its fastest in 10 months last month.
The NCB manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which intends to provide a single figure showing the level of activity in the manufacturing sector, rose to 51.5 last month, having stood at exactly 50 in February.
The 1.5-point increase, aside from being the highest increase since May of last year, also marked the first time in five months that the index showed an improvement in operating conditions.
NCB said manufacturers had reported a “solid increase” in the level of new orders being placed, with a number of businesses attributing the increase to either the introduction of new products or a boost in export orders.
“New business from abroad increased markedly, and at the sharpest pace since May 2011,” its release said.
It added that the increase in new business meant backlogs of work in March had stabilised, and had increased on February, while respondents to the NCB survey also reported a modest increase in employment in March to handle the new work.
NCB Stockbrokers’ economist Brian Devine said the manufacturing sector had “bucked the trend in March”, and that the Irish figures were in contrast to similar indicators elsewhere in the eurozone.
“The outperformance is likely driven by Ireland’s greater exposure to the US, which has been performing relatively robustly lately,” he said.