THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR continued to grow during the first month of 2013 – but at the slowest rate noted over the previous nine months, according to the latest NCB monthly purchasing managers’ index.
The NCB Republic of Ireland Manufacturing PMI recorded 50.3 in January, just above the figure of 50 which separates expansion from expansion. Conversely, the index stood at 51.4 in December.
Manufacturing output increased slightly but new orders and employment fell marginally during January. The NCB cited a fall in new orders due to weakening client demand.
Data suggested that the increase in production partly reflected the depletion of backlogs of work as new orders decreased. Outstanding business fell for the 23rd successive month, but at a reduced pace.
Total new orders declined for the first time in 12 months – albeit only marginally – the figures show.
Some panellists reported weakening client demand, but others indicated that growth in export markets had supported overall new business.
Suppliers’ delivery times lengthened to the greatest extent in 19 months during January. The marked deterioration in vendor performance was linked by respondents to low stock levels and subsequent capacity constraints at suppliers.