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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Aug 7, 2013 - 10:38 AM

Irish Economy 2013: PMI survey shows services activity in July at highest since 2007
By Finfacts Team
Aug 6, 2013 - 6:56 AM

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Irish Economy 2013: The monthly Irish services activity PMI (purchasing managers index) survey in July is at its highest since 2007. The only caveats you will find are likely from Finfacts a) the biggest companies in this survey are US ones such as Microsoft and Google and significant chunks of their Irish booked revenues are tax-related diversions of revenues from other markets unrelated to activity in Ireland b) last month, Ireland's Central Statistics Office said its monthly services index had fallen in May when the PMI data was buoyant.

The survey shows that second half of the year started in positive fashion for the Irish service sector, with activity and new business each rising at the steepest rates since early-2007. A similar trend was seen for employment, with the fastest job creation since December 2006.

The seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index - -  which is based on a single question asking respondents to report on the actual change in business activity at their companies compared to one month ago -- improved to 57.6 in July from 54.9 in June, and signalled the sharpest rate of expansion in activity since April 2007. Higher sales amid rising tourism spending was mentioned by respondents.

Business sentiment dipped from that seen in June, but remained positive and was broadly similar to the series average. Where optimism was signalled, this was partly linked to signs of improvement in the wider economy.

In line with the trend in activity, new business growth quickened in July. Growth of new work was the strongest since March 2007. According to respondents, new clients had been secured, helping to boost new order levels. Service providers recorded a further marked rise in new export orders, although the rate of expansion eased slightly from the previous month.

Rising new business led to a second successive increase in backlogs of work. That said, the latest accumulation of outstanding business was only slight and weaker than recorded in June.

Higher new order levels also contributed to job creation in July. Employment increased at the fastest pace since December 2006, and job creation has now been recorded in 11 consecutive months.

Although remaining relatively subdued, input cost inflation picked up to a five-month high in July. Where input prices increased, this was linked to higher energy and fuel costs.

Output prices continued to fall amid competitive pressures and attempts to stimulate new business. However, the pace of reduction eased for the third month running and was the slowest since February.

The report is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent by Markit to a panel of companies in the Irish private service sector. The panel includes around 450 private companies from the sector. The panel has been carefully selected to accurately replicate the true structure of the services economy.

The service sector economy is divided into the following areas:

A. Hotels & Restaurants
B. Transport & Storage
C. Post & Telecommunications
D. Financial Intermediation
E. Renting & Business Activities
F. Other Services

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