The performance was driven by a growth in new orders, with December's level of production the strongest in the current 17 month sequence of growth, and third-fastest in the Investec Manufacturing PMI Ireland surveys history.
Results released on Tuesday showed a seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers' Index of 54.2 for the month, slightly down from November's 54.8. Readings above 50.0 indicate growth in activity. This was the fastest growth in four months and above the expectations of 50.7.
Panelists reported higher demand from both home and overseas, with growth of new export orders at a near seven-year high. In turn, new export orders rose at the quickest pace since June.
Purchasing activity was reported to have deteriorated in December at the strongest rate since September, due to subdued demand conditions. That said, the rate of contraction was marginal. At the same time, stronger demand allowed firms to raise prices at the fastest pace in 10 months to make up for rising input costs, suggesting overall inflation could remain above the central bank's medium-term target of 4 per cent in the coming month. Consequently, firms increased their selling prices notably.
The Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing PMI said business conditions in the Malaysian manufacturingsector broadly stagnated in December, following an improvement in November. PMI for the high-tech sector picked up further to 53.8 in December from 53.2 in November, NBS data showed. Meanwhile, the non-manufacturing PMI rose moderately to 55.0 from 54.8 a month ago.
China's economic recovery and manufacturing capacity expansion cycle are likely to be in the early days and have more legs to run on, CICC said, reiterating its outlook for the Chinese economy in 2018.