Irish services sector growth slows in December as prices rise – PMI

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Growth in Ireland’s services sector slowed in December as higher prices tempered new business demand, but new exports and the outlook for future activity both improved, a survey showed on Thursday.

The AIB Global S&P Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slipped to 53.2 from 54.2 in November. The index has stayed above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction since early 2021 and comfortably so for most of 2023.

Prices charged and input prices both increased in December and growth in new business slowed, the survey showed.

AIB Chief Economist Oliver Mangan pointed to new export orders, which grew at their fastest pace since August, as a bright spot in the data.

A subindex measuring sentiment about the prospects for activity over the coming 12 months also hit its highest level since May, helped by growing expectations of interest rate cuts in 2024, Mangan said.

(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Hugh Lawson)