The domestic focus this morning turns to the official industrial production figures for January. In the three-month period October to December, manufacturing output was down 1.6% on the preceding three-month period. Furthermore, on an annual basis, production in December was 7.5% lower than December 2012, as against a revised year-on-year increase of 6.1% (15.9%) in November. For the whole of 2013, output was 2.1% lower than in 2012, the second annual decline in a row. <p>

Manufacturing growth in the short-term is expected to be primarily driven by industries under the “Modern” umbrella. The patents issue related to the pharmaceuticals sector is likely to remain a negative factor for some time to come, though against that, demand from the Eurozone and the UK for Irish goods should start to pick up now as these economies recover. As well as that, the Irish manufacturing PMI has been in expansionary territory for the nine months up to February. <p>

Whatever about the near-term outlook, we still firmly believe that when the world economy regains momentum, Ireland is better placed than most to take advantage of that. As regards 2014, we are optimistic that all things being equal, manufacturing output will post a modest single digit increase on 2013. <p>

<b>The poor weather, though, is likely to have had a negative impact on production in the early part of the year, with an annual decline in output of 6.0% forecast for January.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>


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