DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s services sector expanded at the fastest rate in four months in September as confidence about the future surged to its highest level this year, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The Investec Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 58.7 in September from 58.4 in August.
It has remained comfortably above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since August 2012, when Ireland was halfway through a three-year bailout. Like the wider economy, services firms have so far proved resilient to neighbouring Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
The business expectations index, which gauges expectations for the sector in 12 months’ time, improved to 77.3 from 70.1 in August, its highest level since December last year.
The index “paints a very optimistic picture” of the sector, Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said.
Close to 60 percent of panelists are expecting to see a rise in activity over the coming year, while a low single-digit percentage anticipate a decline, he said.
The new export business subindex also demonstrated substantial growth, in part due to higher demand from the United Kingdom. Growth in overseas demand quickened to its fastest pace since February.
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Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Hugh Lawson; email@example.com; +35315001518; Reuters; Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org