Ireland: Services PMI falls in March
The Irish service sector decelerated slightly in March, reflected by a drop in the AIB service Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) to 55.3 in March, down from 55.9 in February. Although the print denotes a moderation in the growth of the service sector, the index remained above the critical 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction. It has remained above the threshold for more than six years now.
March’s print was underpinned by weaker demand driving softer upturns in output and new orders, although the overall pace of expansion remained solid. While firms in the transport and logistics sectors saw the biggest increase in new business, new export orders rose at the slowest rate in over two years. Backlogs of work rose nonetheless, which prompted service providers to hire more workers across all sectors, with the rate of job creation accelerating from February. Meanwhile, input cost inflation softened, which led to a more moderate rise in output prices. As Brexit uncertainty continued to weigh on business sentiment, confidence in the service sector tumbled to an over six-year low.