DUBLIN(Reuters) - Irish manufacturing sector growth hit a two-year high in August, a survey showed on Friday, as firms’ expansion into more markets and securing of new business added to signs that the booming economy is showing few signs of slowing down.
Ireland has had the best performing economy in the European Union since 2014 and economists say continued jobs, wage and consumption growth back up government forecasts for a further 4.3 percent expansion in gross domestic product this year.
Business surveys have been similarly supportive and the Investec Purchasing Managers’ index rose to 56.1 in August from 54.6 a month earlier, reaching the highest level since July 2015, well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.
While Ireland is particularly vulnerable to Brexit due to its close trading links with Britain, manufacturers are proving increasingly resilient to any early impact with the sub-index measuring new export orders rising to 55.6 from 54.6 in July.
Export orders contracted for the first time in three years ahead of last year’s Brexit referendum but the sector has recovered and grown strongly all year.
“Panellists linked the uptick in growth in new export orders to the securing of new customers and success in international markets,” Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said.
“Given the improving international economic backdrop, we think that Irish manufacturing firms are right to be upbeat about the outlook.”