Today’s NCB Manufacturing PMI release shows a welcome improvement in Irish manufacturing conditions during the month of September. The seasonally-adjusted headline index has recorded a seventh successive month of improvement, with September’s 51.8 reading comparing favourably with the 50.9 seen in August.
Within the data, it is encouraging to see new orders (52.3) in positive territory for the eighth month in a row. This is presumably a key factor behind the robust employment (54.1) reading, which has registered increases for seven successive months now. On the pricing side, the big pick-up in output prices (54.8), the highest reading from that indicator since April 2011 (and indeed the first positive reading since July 2011), points to firms being able to offset at least some of the pressure from input prices (60.6), which has been driven by higher commodity prices. One area of concern is new export orders (48.4), which fell below 50.0 for the first time in seven months. This is likely to be driven to some extent by the well-documented challenges facing many of Ireland’s key trading partners.