DUBLIN, (Reuters) - Irish manufacturing activity expanded steadily in July, a survey showed on Friday, as strong orders at home and from overseas helped keep the country's economy recovery on track. The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)rose slightly to 55.4 in July from 55.3 in June, staying above the 50 line dividing growth in activity from contraction for the 14th month running.
"Client demand continued to improve both at home and abroad. Panelists identified the UK as a particular source of higher overseas demand, with sterling strength likely to be a contributory factor here," Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said.
"Our view has been, and remains, that the recovery both at home and in Ireland's key trading partners bodes well for the domestic manufacturing sector. Therefore, we are optimistic of further good readings in the months ahead."
The subindex for new orders among manufacturers fell to 57.1 but was only a touch down from June's 58.7 reading, which was the highest level since February 2011.
Manufacturing accounts for about a quarter of Irish gross domestic product, according to World Bank figures.
Ireland's economy expanded 2.7 percent in the first quarter after being stuck in neutral for the last two years.