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Irish factory activity hits another record high in May -PMI

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FILE PHOTO: COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease in Dublin
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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish factory activity growth hit a record high in May as the economy emerged from one of the strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe and global demand surged, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The AIB IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) climbed to 64.1 in May from 60.8 in April to reach the highest level recorded since the survey began in 1998. That compares to a 2021 low of 51.8 in January.

"Output rose at a record pace, driven by rebounding demand, with record growth in new orders as businesses re-open, both domestically and in overseas markets," said AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan.

Backlogs of unfilled orders also rose at the fastest pace on record while inventories of finished goods fell, he said.

Supply chains remain under severe pressure in part due to new British customs arrangements following the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.

The 12-month outlook for production also remained close to the record high as survey recipients said they expected vaccination programmes to provide a major fillip to business activity, Mangan said.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Hugh Lawson)