Total business activity (53.9) recording its fastest rate of growth in 19 months

This is an encouraging NCB Ireland Services PMI release, with total business activity (53.9) recording its fastest rate of growth in 19 months. This strength is reflected across all of the sectors that comprise the index, with business services; financial services; TMT and transport & leisure all recording multi-month highs on the business activity front. It is encouraging to see panellists report an improvement in new business (54.0) in both domestic and international markets, and this is helping to feed into an improvement in services employment (51.5), which grew for the first time in 6 months.

Similar to what we saw in the NCB Ireland Manufacturing PMI data released earlier this week, there are indications that companies in the Irish services sector are encountering less resistance in passing on rising input prices (58.6), as the output prices measure (47.4) recorded its smallest rate of decline since August 2008.

In all, with expectations (66.6) at a six month high, buoyed by planned business expansions and new product launches, we would expect to see the positive momentum in business activity sustained over the coming months, which is a commendable out-turn given the broader economic backdrop.