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Firms in the Republic are reporting a slide in orders

By Colm Kelpie

Manufacturing in the Republic expanded at its weakest level in a year-and-a-half last month, with output, new orders and employment rising at a softer rate.

Companies reported a drop in new orders both at home and abroad, while the number of staff taken on by firms dropped back to its slowest level since July of last year, according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the sector.

Manufacturing in the eurozone eased last month, despite factories barely raising prices. And UK manufacturing growth cooled as export orders fell for a fifth month.

Philip O'Sullivan, economist with specialist bank Investec, said there is no reason to be worried by the Irish data.

"While this is clearly a more downbeat manufacturing PMI release compared to what we have grown accustomed to over the past 18 months or so, we are not overly concerned at this point," he said.

"The sector still has significant tailwinds behind it and we still expect to see a strong finish to the year."

The seasonally adjusted PMI posted 53.6 in August, down from 56.7 in July. Above 50 signals expansion, while below that means contraction. It was the weakest improvement in conditions since February 2014.

The rate of expansion in new orders slowed in the month.

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