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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's manufacturing sector grew at its fastest rate in over a year in June, a survey showed on Monday, providing more positive news after last week's
European agreement on banks was heralded by the government as a major game changer".
Ireland desperately needs economic growth and an easing of the terms of its bank bailout to eat into a debt pile set to peak at 120 percent of GDP next year and believes it is on the w ay to achieving the latter after European leaders agreed to look at improving it banking problems.
After Irish manufacturing activity fell in each month bar one in the nine to February, the NCB Purchasing Managers' Index climbed to 53.1 in June from 51.2 in May, accelerating its rise above the 50 line that separates growth from contraction.
Ireland's PMI readings have consistently outperformed the rest of the euro zone but finance minister Michael Noonan warned on Thursday that efforts to match last year's GDP growth r ate of 0.7 percent are dependent on the performance of its trading partners in Europe.
Noonan also voiced his frustration that the country's unemployment rate was sticking at crisis-high of 14.8 percent. However, the manufacturing employment sub-index grew for the fourth month in a row to 55.9 in June, the highest level since December 1999.
New business also increased for a fifth successive month, while last month also saw the first reduction in input costs for two-and-a-half years.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Toby Chopra