Growth in the country's manufacturing sector slowed in February despite exports getting a boost from improved demand in the UK, as sharply rising input costs dented profit margins.

The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index fell to 53.8 in February from 55.5 a month earlier.

Despite last month's dip, the index is still well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction. 

Ireland is widely seen as the member most at risk from Britain's decision to leave the European Union. 

But for the second month in a row some panellists reported more new business from clients in the UK. 

That helped push the sub-index measuring new export orders to 57.6 last month from 56.1 in January, the joint-fastest pace of expansion since July 2015.

However a second consecutive month of rapid acceleration in input cost inflation - mainly due to raw material prices - put costs at their highest level since May 2011, the survey showed. 

A marked depletion in stocks of finished goods - which some firms said was the result of a deliberate policy of limiting inventories - also showed that manufacturers remained cautious despite the increased demand from clients. 

"Given the continued uncertainty in the external environment, we are unsurprised to see Irish manufacturers retaining an air of caution," Investec Ireland's chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said. 

"All told, while this report shows that manufacturers are currently under pressure from a number of sources, it is also clear that most firms expect to be able to overcome this and record further growth over the coming year," the economist added.