DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s services sector last month grew at its slowest rate since January, a survey showed on Wednesday, as the impact of rising uncertainty around Brexit was evident across a number of areas.
Ireland’s fast-growing economy has largely weathered the disruption created by Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union but increasing uncertainty around Brexit has contributed to weaker activity in the manufacturing and services sectors.
The AIBIHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for services slipped to 54.6 from 55.0 in July — still well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction, as it has been since 2012, when a rapid economic recovery began to take hold.
The sub-index for new export orders, which contracted for the first time in almost three years in July, rebounded slightly to 50.3. However many panellists reported observing a drop in UK orders due to the Brexit uncertainty, the survey’s authors said.
“The impact of Brexit uncertainty was evident in some key sub-components of the August survey,” AIB Chief Economist Oliver Mangan said.
“Growth in new orders eased in the month, with some firms reporting a drop in UK orders owing to Brexit uncertainty. Furthermore, business confidence fell sharply to its lowest level since December 2011 …
“Although employment in the services sector continued to expand at a solid pace in August, it was still the slowest rate of job creation seen since May 2013.”
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Catherine Evans)