Irish manufacturing growth ends 2017 at record high

Operating conditions for manufacturing best in 5 years during December: Nikkei PMI

German factories shifted into overdrive in December as strong foreign demand propelled growth in activity to a record high and capacity constraints led to the biggest delivery delays in more than 20 years, a survey showed on Tuesday.

According to data compiled by Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, manufacturers ended the 2017 year stagnant.

Still, the index remained comfortably above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction, with numbers above 50 indicating expansion.

The manufacturing sector employed less people as the sub-index of employment dropped 0.3 percentage points month on month to 48.5 in December.

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"That said, the level of business sentiment eased from November's 47-month high and remained weaker than the series average", the report noted.

The World Bank last month raised its projection for China's gross domestic product (GDP) past year to 6.8%, up from its October estimate of 6.7%, citing support from strong exports and robust domestic household consumption.

"The goods-producing economy carries strong momentum into 2018, with new order growth at its highest for nearly eight years and rising backlogs of work pointing to the need for further expansion in capacity", Smith added.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said the expansion added momentum to a year marked by higher energy prices and the shutdown of Holden and Toyota vehicle production in Australia.

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The PMI showed steep increases in output, new orders and exports.

China is expected to have grown by close to 7 percent in 2017, but the world's second largest economy is likely to slow in the new year on the back of those measures, highlighted as policy priorities at October's key Communist Party congress.

"The sector therefore is in good shape heading into 2018", he added.

Chinese economic growth has been unexpectedly strong this year, but economists forecast activity will weaken as Beijing tightens up on bank lending to clamp down on rising debt that analyst say is the biggest threat to the country's economic stability.

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The NBS also said that China's official nonmanufacturing PMI rose to 55 in December, up from 54.8 in November. In breakdown, the new order index for the service sector increased slightly slower month on month to 50.9, and that for the construction sector rose at a faster pace to 58.1.

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