Category Archives: Irish manufacturing

12/10/20: Ireland PMIs and Economic Activity Dynamics for September


September data on Irish Purchasing Managers Indices is now complete (with Construction sector reporting last), and the signals coming from the data are not pretty:

Services sector activity is back in contraction: September reading of 45.8 shows relatively sharp downward momentum, swinging 6.6 points on August reading. September reading is statistically below 50.0 zero growth line, and below historical mean (55.0).

Manufacturing sector reading is at stagnation 50.0 in September, down from 52.3 in August. Statistically, September reading is below historical average of 51.4.

Construction sector is posting a second consecutive month of contraction at 47.0 in September. The reading is statistically below both the historical mean and the median, as well as below 50.0 zero growth line.

This means that official composite PMI (which does not include Construction sector index) is now at 46.9, statistically signalling economic contraction. September index is statistically below index median, although it is statistically indistinguishable for the historical average (which, owing to massive volatility in recent months sits at 49.8).

Chart above shows my own 3-Sectors Index of economic activity, integrating Manufacturing, Services and Construction sectors PMIs, weighted by their relative contributions to Gross Value Added. 3 Sectors Index has fallen from 52.1 in August to 47.5 in September. August reading by itself was not impressive: it was statistically below the historical average and the median, and was barely statistically significantly above 50.0 zero growth line. September reading is very poor, indicating a return of recessionary dynamics in the Irish economy in a critical month of September that normally marks strong growth month for the economy.

9/8/20: Ireland PMIs and Economic Activity Dynamics for August

Ireland's PMIs are signalling a cautious recovery in the growth dynamics across three sectors, with growth still underperforming historical averages.

Irish Services Sector PMI rose to a respectable 52.4 in August from 51.9 in July, with the latest index reading sitting 38.5 points above April 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lows. However, statistically, the index remains below historical average of 55.0 and the median of 56.8. In other words, second month post-contraction phase of the pandemic, Irish services sectors are still struggling to restore growth (not levels) in activity consistent with a robust recovery.

Irish Manufacturing Sector PMI fell to 52.3 in August from July's 57.3 reading. The series are generally more subdued than Services PMI, which means that August reading is statistically indistinguishable from the historical average of 51.5 and is bang-on the median of 52.31. Manufacturing activity swung 16.3 points between COVID19 trough and August reading. Overall, Manufacturing growth seems to have fallen off the post-COVID19 high.

Irish official Composite (two sectors) PMI is currently at 54.0 which is statistically at the historically median rate of growth. The series are too short to talk about averages and historical comparatives in any serious terms. 

Irish Construction Sector PMI (not included in the official Composite PMI) came in at 52.3 in August, up from 51.9 in July and 48.7 points above the COVID19 trough in April. Current reading is statistically above the historical average, but identical to the historical median. This suggests that much of the rebound can be down to seasonal and cyclical volatility, as opposed to thee genuine recovery. 

Here is a summary chart of the three sectors dynamics:

I compute my own GVA-shares-weighted 3-sectors Activity Index, using all three sectoral PMIs reported by IHS Markit. The 3-Sectors Activity Index currently sits at 52.4, down from 54.1 in July and up 30.1 points on COVID19 trough. The current growth in economic activity in Ireland is statistically below historical average, and historical median. And it has moderated from July high, suggesting that the economy is still struggling to recover levels of activity lost to the COVID19 pandemic.

6/1/16: Irish Manufacturing, Services & Construction PMIs: 4Q 2015

Time to update Irish quarterly PMI readings for 4Q 2015. Please note: the following refer to average PMI readings per quarter as supplied by Markit.

Irish Manufacturing PMI averaged 53.7 in 4Q 2015, down slightly on 54.7 in 3Q 2015 and the lowest quarterly reading since 4Q 2013 (jointly tied for that honour with 1Q 2014). The quarterly average has now declined in every quarter since the period peak in 4Q 2014.  Still, at 53.7 we have rather solid growth signal as is. On y/y basis, Manufacturing PMI is now down 5.1% after falling 2.6% in 3Q 2015 and rising 0.7% in 2Q 2015. 4Q 2015 marks tenth consecutive quarter of above 50.0 readings for the sector, with all of these readings being statistically above 50.0 as well. The trend in growth is down.

Irish Services PMI slipped from 62.6 in 3Q 2015 to 61.8 in 4Q 2015, down 1.3% q/q after posting a 1.4% rise q/q in 3Q 2015. On annual basis, the PMI fell 0.11% having previously risen 0.91% in 3Q 2015 and falling 0.48% in 2Q 2015. This marks 20th consecutive quarter of above 50.0 readings in the sector. In level terms, 61.8 signals robust growth in the sector, so it is a positive signal, albeit over time consistent with quite a bit of volatility and no strongly defined trend.

Irish Construction sector PMI (through November 2015) for 4Q 2015 stood at 55.9, down from, 57.1 in 3Q 2015 and marking the second consecutive quarter of index declines. Q/Q index was down 7.95% in 3Q 2015 and it was also down 2.16% in 4Q 2015. Y/Y, index was up 1.42% in 2Q 2015, down 7.6% in 3Q 2015 and down 12.4% in 4Q 2015. Volatile movements in the series still indicate downward trend in growth in the sector.

Chart above summarises the sub-trends, with Services trending very sluggishly up, while Manufacturing and Construction trending down.

As shown in the chart above, my estimated Composite measure, relating to PMIs (using sectoral weights in quarterly GDP figures) posted moderation in growth rate in 4Q 2015.  Composite Index including construction sector stood at 54.4 in 4Q 2015, down from 55.5 in 3Q 2015, hitting the lowest reading since 3Q 2013. This marks second consecutive quarter of declining Composite Index. Index is now down 1.9% q/q having previously fallen 3.8% q/q in 3Q 2015. In y/y terms, Composite Index was up 0.8% y/y in 2Q 2015, down 3.5% y/y in 3Q 2015 and down 6.52% y/y in 4Q 2015. While levels of Index suggest relatively robust growth in the economy across three key sectors, there is a downward trend in the growth rate over time.

So in the nutshell, Irish PMIs continue to signal robust growth, albeit the rate of growth appears to be slowing down along the new sub-trend present from 1Q 2015 on.

Two charts to highlight relationship between PMI signals and GDP and GNP growth rates (data through 3Q 2015).

5/8/15: Irish Industrial Production Up Spazillion Percent on Quazillion Widgets

Why is it pointless to cover Irish economic data? Because of this!

Let's put this into perspective: in a modern economy with lean manufacturing and real-time supply chains, increasing volume of production in manufacturing by 30% in just 12 months is not feasible. But in Ireland, not only it is feasible, it is a reflection of moderation in the rate of growth on 1Q 2015:
Anyone who interprets these numbers as anything other than coming from the Theatre of Absurd is simply wasting their time and skills.

4/8/15: Irish Manufacturing PMI: July 2015

Irish Manufacturing PMI released by Markit showed accelerated growth in the sector in July, with activity growth signal rising from 54.6 in June to 56.7 in July. This marks 26ht consecutive month of index readings above 50.0 (23rd consecutive month of readings statistically significantly above 50.0).

Overall, the trend remains for high growth in the sector, albeit the rate of increase in growth (second derivative) is moderating (turning negative) since around February 2015.

It is worth noting that the moderating trend in PMIs is confirmed by the most recent QNA datum showing Industry sector - excluding Building and Construction - in a q/q decline in 1Q 2015 of 0.31%, while the sector posted a 9.63% growth year-on-year.

Overall, another month of gains in Manufacturing is a good sign of underlying strength in the sector.