Sluggish start to 2013 for the manufacturing sector

The latest NCB Republic of Ireland Manufacturing PMI shows that while the manufacturing sector continued to grow in January, the rate of expansion was the slowest seen in 9 months. While output remains in positive territory and new export orders grew for a fourth successive month (indeed, exports have grown in ten of the past eleven months), other areas showed signs of weakness.

New orders declined marginally in January, with some panellists noting weakening client demand. This snapped a run of 11 months in which that index had recorded growth. Another good run that was brought to an end was in the employment category, which dipped into negative territory after 10 consecutive months of growth, with weaker demand again cited as a factor behind this.

Over the past few months we have noted a mis-match between input and output prices. During January output prices declined for the second time in three months, while input prices advanced for a sixth successive month

Tying it all together, while the headline PMI reading, at 50.3, points to an 11th successive month of growth, today’s release points to a sluggish start to 2013 for the manufacturing sector.