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Irish services sector grows

Wednesday, September 03 08:10:40

Irish services activity grew in August at a rate just shy of the seven-year high hit in June, a survey showed on Wednesday, although concern about the global economy dented confidence among firms in the sector.

The Investec Purchasing Managers' Index of activity in the services sector, which covers businesses from banks to hotels, rose to 62.4 in June from 61.3 in July, leaving it just short of June's 62.6 - the highest reading since February 2007.

With unemployment down for eight straight quarters, exports rebounding and consumer beginning to spend again, Ireland's economy is now expected to grow by more than 3 percent this year.

The Irish services index has been above 60 for the past six months and has not fallen below the 50-point line denoting growth for two years.

The subindex measuring expected levels of business activity 12 months from now fell to 74.8 from 77.4, its lowest level of the year so far, which Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said was "unsurprising" given global geopolitical tensions.

But over half of panellists still forecast activity would be higher than current levels in 12 months' time, with just 7 percent predicting a decline, according to Markit, which compiles the data.

"It is clear that there is strong momentum behind the bulk of Ireland's private sector at this time," O'Sullivan said. (Reuters)

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