Output from the Irish manufacturing sector rose at its fastest pace in three years during March. The latest Purchasing Managers index from Investec shows strong growth in new orders, particularly in demand from overseas, during the month. Manufacturers here also saw the fastest growth in new orders since April 2011. The US, the UK and Asia were cited as the strongest drivers of new export orders. Output from factories and employment also rose in March.
Ed Harty is the founder and chief executive of Dairymaster, the dairy farm equipment maker based in Causeway, Co Kerry. Mr Harty says that manufacturing is core to the Irish economy, adding that it is key for manufacturing to be coupled with innovation. Like the stats in the PMI, Mr Harty says his company is seeing growth in new orders with more demand in the markets of Australia, Japan and the US. Overall, Dairymaster has seen a big pickup in business, and has recruited quite a lot of new staff recently ahead of the anticipated growth in the company. It is key to have the right team in place for growth at the company, he adds. On the situation in the Ukraine and Crimea, Mr Harty says the effect of the crisis has not yet tricked through yet, but that food security remains a priority. He says situations like Ukraine can be an opportunity for business or a threat, adding that we will just have to wait and see what happens there.
MORNING BRIEFS - Banks that are considered too big to fail benefit from lower funding costs than would otherwise be the case because their creditors believe governments will bail them out if they get into trouble. This is according to the International Monetary Fund in its latest Global Financial Stability Report. The implicit state subsidy could have negative implications if the institutions take bigger risks because it is cheaper for them to borrow and in the expectation that taxpayers will pick up the tab if anything goes wrong. The IMF says that subsidy could be worth up to $70 billion to the relevant banks in the US alone. Ireland is mentioned in the report as one of the few countries to have given a blanket guarantee thereby indicating - the IMF said - "that no failure whatsoever was considered acceptable".
*** A load balancer sounds like a device you may need in the back of a delivery van but it is an increasingly important piece of technology for ensuring that companies doing a lot of business online don't see their systems crash at peak times. KEMP Technologies is one of the leaders in developing load balancers. It has just announced an investment in Limerick where it will establish its European headquarters. KEMP will carry out research and development, serve its customers and locate marketing and quality assurance roles in Ireland. Altogether the investment, which is supported by the state through IDA Ireland, will lead to 50 new jobs over three years.
*** Russia's top natural gas producer Gazprom has said it is increasing the gas price for Ukraine by over 40% to $385.50 per 1,000 cubic metres. The decision ends a discount agreed before the Crimean crisis.