Friday, March 12, 2010

Economics 12/03/2010: Industrial production

If you believe in fairies and elves and the story of the MNCs carrying out Ireland out of the slump driven by collapse of domestic economy, then you are in a recovery, friend.

On an annual basis production for Manufacturing Industries for January 2010 was 2.3% higher than in January 2009 (chart) per CSO’s latest data.The drivers of this change were:
  • Computer, electronic and optical products (-37.2% oops)
  • Basic pharmaceutical products and preparations (+11.8% - more like it).

In other words, really, folks – fewer PCs many more Viagras. Time to pop that vintage champagne out.

Hold on – there’s seasonality here, clearly, plus volatility. So the seasonally adjusted volume of industrial production for Manufacturing Industries for the 3 month period November 2009 to January 2010 was 2.7% lower than in the preceding three month period.

What happened there?

The “Modern” Sector, comprising a number of high-technology and chemical Sectors – all are MNCs led – showed an annual increase in production for January 2010 of 4.8%.

A decrease of 3.6% was recorded in the “Traditional” Sector (the one our folks at L28 wanted to stimulate via expensive borrowing and semi-state companies – good luck extracting here any sort of meaningful returns on ‘investment’).

More significantly, the seasonally adjusted industrial turnover index for Manufacturing Industries fell 1.5% in the three month period November 2009 to January 2010 compared with the preceding three month period. On an annual basis turnover was 8.8% lower when compared with January 2009. This makes me worry – turnover is down output is up and there is no deflation globally. What’s happening? Have falling value of the Euro been impacting the revenue we collect on transfer-pricing from the US? Likely – inputs prices are appreciating with the dollar, output prices are falling with the euro. In the end, less dosh for us.

PS: what do you think these figures are doing to the hopes of the high value-added private sector jobs creation - the one that promises us to deliver 105K new jobs via IDA and another 150K new jobs via FAS/DETE etc 'Innovation frameworks'?

Let me tell you a quick tale: on the day of Taoiseach's launch of the Innovation taskforce report, TCD academics received a 'No' answer to their joint (with Innovation Centre) application for a post of a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation. Knowledge economy, it seems, per some decision-makers somewhere, does not need research and teaching in either entrepreneurial aspects of innovation or business aspects of the same. So much for 'commercializable R&D'... Oh, yes, the post was planned to be self-financing via expanded teaching programmes, as far as I am aware.

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