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Manufacturing sector contracts for fourth month in a row – PMI

Manufacturing sector contracts for fourth month in a row – PMI

Factory activity shrank for the fourth successive month in September and is stuck around levels posted in July and August as a global manufacturing slowdown and Brexit uncertainty weigh on demand.

The AIB IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 48.7 in September, up slightly from 48.6 in August and in line with July’s 48.7.

The survey’s authors said anecdotal evidence from panelists suggested the fall below the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction was due to deteriorating demand conditions at home and abroad.

The economy here weathered the uncertainty created by the June 2016 vote by Britain to leave the EU, but the survey showed a reduction in new business from abroad with notably softer UK demand.

The sub-index measuring new export orders showed a reading of 46, down from 48.5 in August. This marked the fastest rate of contraction for new business from abroad since August 2009.

“The weak Irish data of recent months clearly show that the sharp slowdown in global manufacturing over the past year or more is being felt in Ireland also,” AIB’s chief economist Oliver Mangan said.

“Brexit uncertainty is an additional negative factor weighing on activity here,” he added, noting the Irish September PMI weakened less than the euro zone average.

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