The Central Statistics Office will this morning release official manufacturing data for October. The most recent industrial production numbers again painted a mixed picture as far as Ireland’s manufacturing sector is concerned. <p>

In the three-month period July to September, manufacturing output was down 1.9% on the preceding three-month period. However, on an annual basis, production in September was 11.9% higher than September 2012, as against a revised year-on-year decrease of 7.0% (-6.7%) in August. In the first three quarters of 2013, output was 2.4% lower on average than in the same period last year. <p>

The “Modern” sector posted a monthly increase of 2.9% in September and was up 17.8% in the year following an annual decline of 12.1% in August. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals recorded an annual rise of almost 40% in September. <p>

Manufacturing growth in the short-term is expected to be primarily driven by industries under the “Modern” umbrella, and there are signs that the external economic backdrop, especially in the Eurozone and UK, is improving. Indeed, the outlook for the British economy is very strong over the next twelve months, which augurs well going forward. <p>

<b>Whatever about the near-term outlook, we still firmly believe that when the world economy regains momentum, Ireland is better placed than most to take advantage of that. However, on the basis of the figures for the year to date, manufacturing output for 2013 as a whole will post a low single digit decline for the second year running. Meanwhile, an annual increase of 5.5% is forecast for October.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>


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