Services sector grows in August
Activity in the services sector grew in August, a measure of the industry showed today, the first time the sector has expanded in four months.
The NCB Services Purchasing Managers' Index, which indicates the health of the industry, recorded a reading of 51.7 last month, above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.
The growth was attributed to higher new business, with both export and domestic markets growing. The overall new business index was 52.6 last month.
New export orders grew strongly, rising for the 13th month in a row and reaching 54.1.
Respondents to the survey were more confident about the coming year, with more than 43 per cent forecasting increased business activity in 12 months’ time due to improving economic conditions and new product development. Only 17 per cent took a dimmer view of their future prospects, predicting alling business activity.
Employment fell slightly in the month, with a reading of 49.1, as businesses restructured.
Higher oil prices pushed input costs sharply higher, at 57.9, but companies were unable to pass on the price hikes to consumers, hitting profitability.