DUBLIN, (Reuters) - The Irish manufacturing sector expanded at its slowest rate in 18 months in August as demand for new orders at home and abroad softened, a survey showed on Tuesday.
After growing by over 5 percent in 2014, Ireland's economy is set to be the best performing in Europe again this year and
manufacturing has expanded for 27 successive months, according to the Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index.
However, the growth rate moderated noticeably for the second time in three months, falling to 53.6 in August, still comfortably above the 50 line denoting growth but down from 56.7 in July when it rebounded from a similar dip.
The fall in the headline number was driven by slower output and customer demand with the sub-index for new orders slipping to 55.1 in August from 59.1 a month earlier, while employment growth slowed to a level last seen in July last year.
"We expect that the more troubled international backdrop and the slight euro softening seen last month were key factors behind this development," said Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan.
"While this is clearly a more downbeat Manufacturing PMI release compared to what we have grown accustomed to over the past 18 months or so, we are not overly concerned at this point.
On balance, the sector still has significant tailwinds behind it and we still expect to see a strong finish to the year."
Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Toby Chopra