June 6, 2018 / 5:10 AM / 12 days ago

Irish services sector growth hits four-month high in May

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Growth in Irish services activity hit a four-month high in May as the sector continued to recover from a brief slowdown in March that followed some of the worst winter weather in nearly 30 years, a survey showed on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: People eat in a restaurant in Dublin on October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

The Investec Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 59.3 from 58.4 in April. The index has remained above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since August 2012.

Growth in the level of new business from abroad hit a two-year high for the second month in a row, climbing to 59.5 from 59.2, with a number of panelists noting higher new orders from British clients, the report’s authors said.

Given its close trading links with the United Kingdom, Ireland is seen as the EU member state most at risk from Brexit. But so far the economy looks set to be the fastest growing in the bloc for a fifth year in a row.

A survey published on Friday showed Irish manufacturing growth ticked up in May as the rate of new orders accelerated sharply.

“Taken together with last Friday’s Investec Manufacturing PMI, the May PMI reports suggest that growth in activity across much of the private sector in Ireland has rebounded after the weather inspired softness that was seen in Q1 2018,” Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said.

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