Expert warns man­u­fac­tur­ing faces a ‘soft­en­ing of de­mand’ as out­put falls

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY RYAN MCALEER

NORTH­ERN Ire­land’s man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor is fac­ing “a soft­en­ing of de­mand”, ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try expert.

Stephen Kelly, of Man­u­fac­tur­ing NI’, said: “The past two years have seen the best eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment for firms to ex­port and in­deed sell to do­mes­tic mar­kets since the fi­nan­cial crash, but it feels like that pe­riod of de­mand is now com­ing to an end.”

The com­ments came as the UK’S man­u­fac­tur­ing out­put fell to its low­est level in more than two years dur­ing Au­gust amid a col­lapse in over­seas de­mand.

The Markit/cips UK Man­u­fac­tur­ing pur­chas­ing man­agers’ in­dex (PMI) showed a read­ing of 52.8 last month, down from 53.8 in July and well be­low econ­o­mist ex­pec­ta­tions of 54. A read­ing above 50 in­di­cates growth.

The fig­ure rep­re­sents a 25-month low and comes along­side job cre­ation slow­ing to “near-stag­na­tion” in the sec­tor, and busi­ness op­ti­mism crash­ing to a 22-month low.

Mr Kelly said: “There is a soft­en­ing of de­mand, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas where sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal ex­pense is re­quired from cus­tomers.

“Fore­cast­ers be­lieve one or more of the ma­jor eco­nomic ar­eas, the US, EU and Asia, will be­gin to slow sig­nif­i­cantly at the end of this year and be­gin­ning of 2019.”

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