DUBLIN (Reuters) – Irish manufacturing activity grew for just the second time in eight months in January amid greater certainty around Brexit and signs that a slowdown in euro zone economic activity may be bottoming out, a survey showed on Monday.
Six years of unbroken Irish manufacturing growth came to an end in June as a slowdown in global trade and uncertainty over Britain’s departure from the European Union finally caught up with manufacturers in the bloc’s fastest-growing economy.
After briefly rebounding in October, the AIB IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) climbed to 51.4 from 49.5 in December. The pick up in output was even stronger, with the sub index expanding to 51.7 from 48.7 a month earlier.
The corresponding flash PMI survey for the euro zone as a whole rose to 47.5 from 46.1, its highest since August, data showed last month.
AIB Chief Economist Oliver Mangan said the positive Irish data, coming the week of national elections in the country, appeared to reflect the good gains both in the euro zone and Britain, as well as certainty around Brexit after Britain left the bloc on Friday.
“Furthermore, firms believe that the prospects for the coming year are also improving. However, difficult EU-UK trade talks this year could test this greater optimism, as may the continuing subdued growth prospects for the global economy,” he said.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Toby Chopra)