Business activity climbed to three-month high in April

Latest Investec Services PMI Ireland report shows improvement following poor March

There was “a marked recovery” during the month, according to the latest Investec Services PMI Ireland report. Photograph: PA

There was “a marked recovery” during the month, according to the latest Investec Services PMI Ireland report. Photograph: PA

 

Business activity climbed to a three-month high in April following a bad month in March due to the adverse weather conditions.

There was “a marked recovery” during the month, according to the latest Investec Services PMI Ireland report.

This was “likely helped by the easy comparative provided by the adverse weather in March”.

The headline PMI strengthened to 58.4 in April, a three-month high, from the 56.5 recorded in the previous report.

The report shows an acceleration in demand, with new business firming to a six-month high while new export business was the strongest in the current 17-month sequence of expansion.

In turn, this increased demand saw backlogs of work increase at a faster pace, extending a series of unbroken growth that commenced in June 2013.

Pressures

Amid attempts to alleviate capacity pressures, and in anticipation of further new business growth, service providers took on extra staff in April, with employment increasing at the quickest pace in the year to date.

On the margin side, higher staff costs combined with rising fuel and insurance prices to produce the strongest upturn in input costs for 16 months.

Robust demand conditions enabled companies to pass at least some of these cost pressures to customers, helping the rate of expansion in the profitability index to inch higher in the period to end-April.

The forward looking confidence index improved to a seven-month high, “suggesting that there is more to the stronger readings in this report than just the absence of the inclement weather that dampened the previous month’s performance”.

“In any event, this week’s manufacturing and services PMI releases point to a bright start to the second quarter of the year for much of the private sector,” added Investec.