Ireland Manufacturing Downturn Continues In May

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Ireland’s manufacturing sector contracted at a softer pace in May, as the local and global economies remained in lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted AIB factory Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, rose to 39.2 in May from 36.0 in April. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

New orders remained weak in the midst of lockdown measures. Employment increased in May, but it signaled the second fastest rate of job shedding in nearly eleven years. Suppliers’ delivery time lengthened in May.

Stocks of purchase signaled the slowest rate of input destocking in seven months. New export orders declined further at the second-fastest pace on record.

As many firms remained shut down in May, backlogs of work declined at the fastest rate since September 2011. Purchasing activity declined due to suspended output and fall in demand due to coronavirus pandemic.

On the price front, the survey showed that input prices fell for the third straight month in May and manufacturers reduced their charges for the third month and at the strongest rate since July 2019.

Manufacturers reported overall optimism regarding future output in May, following a record degree of pessimism in April.

“The AIB Irish Manufacturing PMI data for May paint a downbeat picture of the sector for the third month in a row as the lockdowns associated with the coronavirus pandemic continue to depress activity,” Oliver Mangan, AIB chief economist said.

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