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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Mar 6, 2014 - 1:06 PM

Irish Economy 2014: Services activity rises with benefit of revenue diversions
By Finfacts Team
Mar 5, 2014 - 6:02 AM

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Irish Economy 2014:  Further sharp rises in activity and new business were recorded in February in the latest PMI (purchasing managers' index) survey, despite rates of expansion easing. Higher workloads encouraged service providers to take on extra staff at the strongest pace since October 2006. Meanwhile, sentiment regarding future activity improved to the highest in just over ten years.  However, it's important to keep in mind that the biggest services companies book big chunks of their global revenues in Ireland that are unrelated to the local economy.

Finfacts, March 05, 2014 Irish Economy 2014: Jobless exports boom 2000-2013; What will change to 2020?

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 – pointed to a further sharp increase in business activity at Irish services companies in February, although fell to 57.5 from 61.5 to signal an easing in the rate of expansion. Growth of activity has now been recorded in each of the past 19 months. Where activity increased, this was mainly linked to rising new orders and improving economic conditions.

Business optimism strengthened to the highest in more than ten years during February. Improving economic conditions, and an expectation that this will continue over the coming year, was reportedly behind the optimistic outlook.

As was the case with activity, the rate of expansion in new orders remained substantial despite easing from that seen in January. Respondents indicated that a stronger economic environment had encouraged clients to commit to new projects. New export orders increased for the thirty-first consecutive month in February, with the rate of growth remaining one of the strongest in the history of the series.

Higher new orders led to another rise in outstanding business, although the rate of accumulation slowed markedly as an easing in new order growth enabled companies to transfer some resources to work on existing orders.

The rate of job creation quickened, and was the sharpest since October 2006 as companies reported having to take on extra staff in line with higher workloads.

According to panellists, rising salary payments was the main factor leading input costs to increase in February. The rate of inflation was broadly in line with those recorded in the previous two months.

Irish service providers left their output prices broadly unchanged in February, following a marginal increase in January. Although improving client sentiment had enabled some companies to raise their charges, others reported that strong competition continued to limit pricing power.

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