New Central Statistics Office figures show that monthly factory gate - or wholesale - prices fell by 1.2% in February.

The annual percentage change showed a decrease of 9.4% in February, compared to a decrease of 8.9% in the year to January. 

The CSO said that in February, the price index for export sales decreased by 1.3%, while the index for home sales increased by 0.7%. 

In the year there was a decrease of 10% in the price index for export sales, which can be influenced by currency fluctuations, and an increase of 2.2% in respect of the price index for home sales, the CSO added.

Today's figures suggest that deflation rather than inflation is more of an issue for the economy at this time, commented Cantor Fitzgerald economist Alan McQuaid.

The economist said he expects a further average fall in prices in 2019. 

"Based on the figures for the first two months of the year, the overall level of decline will be somewhere between 5% and 10%," he added.