The manufacturing sector here posted its third consecutive month of expansion in August, but growth slowed from a near two-year high seen in July, a survey from AIB showed today. 

The AIB IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slipped to 52.3 in August from 57.3 in July, but remained above the 50 level that denotes growth. 

In April, Covid-19 restrictions had pushed the index to a 10-year low of 36. 

"Although the lower August figure signals some loss of momentum after the sharp rebound in the previous month, it is still consistent with improving business conditions in the sector," AIB's chief economist Oliver Mangan said. 

The details of the survey, however, point to "considerable caution" in the sector and uncertainty about the economic outlook, he added. 

New orders and new export orders grew for the third consecutive month in August but both sub-indexes showed growth slowing appreciably from July. 

The employment sub-index dropped below 50. 

Manufacturers remained confident of growth in output over the next 12 months with the future output sub-index dipping only slightly, to 59.9 from 60.3. 

Ireland has reopened its economy more gradually than much of Europe and is still advising against all non-essential international travel and has retained restrictions on bars. But infection levels have increased significantly in recent weeks.