The country's manufacturing expansion slowed slightly in October as output and employment growth eased, a survey showed today, but an increase in new orders suggested conditions in the sector remain robust. 

The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 53.6 in October from 53.8 in September.

That was back to the level the index was at a month before that but still comfortably above the 50 line denoting growth. 

The sub-index measuring new orders rose to a three-month high of 56.7 from 55.3 on increased new business from abroad, in particular from the US and Britain. 

But Investec noted that the gain was offset by a third successive monthly fall in backlogs of work.

"The indications are that manufacturing firms here remain positive on the outlook, but perhaps not as much as they did earlier in the year when the prospects for the global economy seemed stronger," Investec Ireland's chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said.

"In any event, given the location of where most of the country's exports go and the recent pullback in the value of the euro, our view is that Ireland should be more insulated from the international headwinds than most," he added.