Irish manufacturing growth surges to 18-year high: PMI

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Growth in Ireland’s manufacturing sector surged to an 18-year high in November, a survey showed on Friday, with strong new orders at home and abroad defying fears Brexit would trigger a slowdown in Britain’s closest neighbor.

Ireland is widely seen as the European Union country most exposed to Britain’s decision to leave the bloc, but after the muted initial impact of the Brexit vote, Dublin this year raised its economic growth forecasts for 2017 and 2018.

The Investec Purchasing Managers’ index indicated strong growth is likely to continue, climbing to 58.1 in November, its highest level since December 1999, from 54.4 in October. It has remained above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction for over four years.

“Irish manufacturing businesses remain very upbeat about the prospects for the sector, with only one in 16 panelists expecting to see a reduction in production over the coming 12 months,” said Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O’Sullivan.

“We believe that manufacturers here are right to feel confident,” he said, citing the country’s open economy and the International Monetary Fund’s forecast for global economic growth to hit a seven year high of 3.7 percent next year.

The expansion in the new business subindex was the fastest since the end of 1999 and one of the steepest in the survey’s history, the survey’s authors said.

Those questioned linked higher output to new order growth in both domestic and export markets. New export orders have now risen in each of the past 15 months.

Employment has risen in each of the past 14 months, with growth strongest in consumer and investment goods.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Toby Chopra;; +35315001518; Reuters; Messaging: