Irish factory activity hit all-time highs in April as the reopening of key partner economies boosted new orders and lifted confidence about future trading, a survey showed on Tuesday.
But it also showed signs of inflationary pressure as supply chains were stretched by Brexit, the Suez Canal blockage and global raw material shortages.
The AIB IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) jumped to 60.8 in April from 57.1 in March and from 52.0 in February.
That was the highest level recorded since the survey began in 1998, beating the previous peak of 59.1 hit in late 2017. It was also far above the 50.0 level that denotes growth.
"The sub-components ... all point to rapidly improving business conditions," said AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan.
"Output growth accelerated sharply driven by rising demand, with a marked pick-up in new orders as COVID restrictions start to be eased," he said.
Export orders rose at their second-quickest pace since February 2018, boosted by demand from British, U.S. and Asian markets, Mangan said.
The 12-month outlook for production also hit a record high on expectations that the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions will boost demand.
But the headline rate was also elevated by severe lengthening in suppliers' delivery times, which in combination with higher demand is leading to growing inflationary pressure, Mangan said.