Monday, September 1, 2014

1/9/2014: Irish Manufacturing PMI: August 2014

Irish Manufacturing PMIs released by Markit and Investec today show very robust and accelerating growth in the sector in August. These are seasonally adjusted series, and given this is a generally slower month for activity, acceleration is more reflective of y/y trends than m/m. Nonetheless, the PMI hit 57.3 in August, up on already blistering 55.4 in July, marking the highest PMI reading since December 1999.

Per release: "…output and new orders each rose at sharper rates. This encouraged firms to up their rates of growth in input buying and employment. Meanwhile, input prices fell for the first time in over a year and firms lowered their output charges."

This marks fifteenth consecutive monthly rise in Irish Manufacturing PMIs.

New orders and export orders are up (allegedly, as we have no data given to us by the Markit/Investec), but part of the sharp rise was down to firms working through backlog of orders, so that forward backlog of orders fell. This can lead to moderation in growth in months ahead 9note: moderating growth is not the same as contraction, so there is no point of concern on that front).

Full release here:

Couple of charts:

The above shows that Manufacturing PMI in Ireland is strongly breaking out of the post-crisis period averages, pushing the average toward longer-term levels observed in pre-crisis period. Thus, by PMI metric, Irish Manufacturing should have already fully recovered from the effects of the crisis. Alas, of course, we can see from the latest QNHS data that this is not the case when it comes to employment levels in the sector: In fact, Industry (ex-Construction) employment has been shrinking, not growing.

Chart below shows the shorter-term trends, distinguishing three periods in recent history:

Despite very robust rates of growth, overall PMIs expansion in the second period of recovery (second shaded block) have been slower than in the first period of recovery. But the trend is for solid recovery, nonetheless.

So lots of good news overall, but we will need a confirmation of this from actual production data, exports data and employment data in months to come. Let's hope the PMIs are signalling more than subjective optimism.
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