Category Archives: Irish manufacturing PMI

1/5/15: Irish Manufacturing PMI: April 2015

Irish Manufacturing PMI is out today for April (compiled by Markit, sponsored by Investec), posting another strong reading at 55.8,

As the chart above indicates, current 12mo average is at robust 56.1 and 3mo average is 56.7. In 3mo through January 2015, the indicator averaged 56.1, which suggests the latest 3mo performance was stronger then the previous one. 3mo average through April 2015 is well ahead of the same period average for 2014 (54.8) and 2013 (49.4). Overall, these are strong numbers, although much of the spectacular growth is probably accounted for by the fabled Contract Manufacturing schemes that are used by some MNCs to book value added for production taking else where into Ireland for tax purposes.

April reading continues the period - 20 months and counting - of continued readings that are statistically significantly above 50.0. However, momentum growth is weakening and remains static from around August 2014. Still, this is the second order derivative, with the overall rate of growth being signalled by the PMI remaining robust.

1/4/15: Irish Manufacturing PMI: March 2015

Markit/Investec Manufacturing PMI for Ireland came out today showing continued and robust growth in the sector (or in the sub-sample of the sector covered by the survey).

Per Markit: "The Irish manufacturing sector registered a further strong improvement in operating conditions during March, helped by a series-record rise in employment. Job creation was linked to a further sharp increase in output requirements amid strong new order growth. The recent weakness of the euro against both the US dollar and sterling led to a first increase in input prices in three months."

Balmy conditions in the sector have meant that the PMI slipped somewhat from the scorching hot reading of 57.5 in February to a hot and humid 56.8 in March. Trend is flattening out, as expected, given the already surreal readings and the fact that the index has been over 50.0 for 22 consecutive months and within statistically significant difference from 50.0 for 19 months straight.

Aside from the above, anecdotal evidence - from one of the larger trade bodies - suggests that externally trading SMEs are now showing serious uptick in their exporting activity due to improved exchange rate environment.

Cited by Markit employment outlook strength is confirmed by today's Live Register data for February 2015 which shows:

  1. Significant declines in Live Register y/y
  2. Broad declines in Live Register across duration of registrations (long- and short-term supports); and
  3. Broad declines in Live Register by occupation, with all occupations posting decreases in LR.
So on the net - good news.

4/3/15: Irish Manufacturing & Services PMIs: February 2015

With all recent work-related excitement, I have delayed analysis of the Irish PMIs until now. So here's a look at the latest numbers.

Services PMI slipped slightly from the dizzying 'knowledge development box'-induced highs of 62.5 in January (62.6 in December) to still dizzying 61.4 in February. The slip-up is a minor hiccup on otherwise uninterrupted 'walk along the ceiling' the series been performing since April 2014. 3mo average performance of 62.2 in 3 months through February 2015, compared to already impressive 61.9 for 3mo average through November 2014 and up 1.9 points on vertigo-inducing 3mo average through February 2014.

Of course, these are strange numbers. More telling, probably are m/m changes. In last two months, PMIs posted m/m declines that now fully offset preceding 2 months rises. So things are flat in terms of growth momentum. One wonders how much of the level performance is attained by forex valuations? And how much is attained by MNCs activities in a handful of sub-sectors, as opposed to the firms trading in the indigenous economy? How much of the activity is down to tax optimising activities of the MNCs vs how much of it is down to actual and real activity by the MNCs? Alas, we won't ever know the answer to these questions.

Reports don't mention forex or currency valuations. Investec did comment that increases in employment were recorded in all four of the "segments of the services industry surveyed by this report (TMT, Business Services, Transport & Leisure and Financial Services)". But we have no comparatives or even levels reported to us on employment or any other subcomponent of PMIs anymore.

Manufacturing PMI, meanwhile, posted an acceleration in growth from 55.1 in January 2015 to 57.5 in February 2015, more than offsetting m/m loss of 1.8 points in January 2015. 3mo average through February 2015 was 56.5, which is marginally stronger than 3mo average through November 2014 at 56.2 and 3.4 points ahead of 3mo average through February 2014.

Again, we have no idea what is driving these strong figures and what the breakdown is between MNCs and indigenous firms. How much of this performance down to 'contract manufacturing' - a new MNCs trick that is so distorting our national accounts, even IMF had to comment on it? How much is down to usual activities of double-Irish-knowledge-box etc?

Chart combining the two indices (in terms of their deviations from 50.0 expansion line):

And a chart showing continued close co-movement in two sectors PMIs along with evolution y/y and 24 months:

Overall: numbers are high and impressive. Questions remain as to what these numbers are really telling us, but on their surface they do suggests that somewhere serious growth is happening in something. May this translate into real growth in the Domestic Demand...

2/2/15: Irish Manufacturing PMI: January 2015

Markit/Investec Irish Manufacturing PMI is out for January, posting 55.1, down on 56.9 in December and the lowest reading in any month since May 2014. Still, 55.1 is a strong performance.

3mo MA is now at 56.1 which is slightly worse than 56.5 3mo reading through October 2014, but is ahead of 55.7 average for 12 months through January 2015.

The growth rate is slowing down, but the activity remains robust: