Growth in the country’s service sector picked up in January as some firms reported a pick-up in trading conditions and consumer confidence following the lifting of almost all Covid-19 restrictions, a survey found today.
The AIB IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) moved up to 56.2 in January from 55.4 in December.
The rate of expansion was well ahead of the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction but among the weakest registered in the current 11-month upturn.
Today’s survey showed renewed growth in the transport, tourism and leisure sector, driven by the domestic market, including the beginnings of a recovery in local tourism.
Cost pressures remained elevated, but the rate of input price inflation eased to a six-month low, while charges increased at the softest rate since last September.
“The acceleration in the pace of growth was evident across all four sub-sectors covered in the survey,” AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan said.
“This is in contrast to the trend in other countries where Omicron weighed on the sector. The flash January Services PMI readings for the euro zone, UK and US fell to 51.2, 53.3 and 50.9, respectively, well below the Irish level,” he added.
Most of the country’s Covid-19 restrictions were dropped on January 22 after weathering a massive surge in cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Ireland has one of Europe’s highest uptake of booster vaccines, which helped keep the number of seriously ill people well below previous peaks.