DUBLIN Ireland's services sector rebounded to post its strongest growth in 10 months in April on strong new orders and higher prices, a survey showed on Thursday.
The Investec Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)climbed to 61.1 in April from 59.1 in March, its highest
level since last June, the month in which neighboring Britain voted to leave the European Union.
The manufacturing PMI for March, released earlier this week, rose to a three-month high of 55.0 as new export orders came in at the fastest pace in almost two years.
"Taken together, this week's reports suggest that economic activity in Ireland picked up at the beginning of Q2," Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said.
Growth in Ireland's services and manufacturing sectors
slowed after the shock Brexit vote, and readings have been volatile since.
But Ireland last year remained the best performing economy in the EU for the third year in a row. Services have not fallen below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since June 2012, when Ireland was halfway through a three-year international bailout.
New orders in the services sector increased in April, but
new export orders were the lowest since December, the survey showed. New export orders in the period were driven by Europe and North America, the authors said.
"Irish services companies remain strongly optimistic, with more than 10 times as many firms expecting to record growth in activity over the coming 12 months as opposed to those who anticipate a decline," O'Sullivan added.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Catherine Evans)