February 5, 2020 / 1:07 AM / 23 days ago

Irish economy off to strong start in 2020, services PMI shows

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s services sector grew at the fastest pace in seven months in January, a survey on Wednesday showed, the second this week to suggest the euro zone’s fastest-growing economy made a strong start to the year.

A slowdown in manufacturing activity in Ireland threatened to spread to the services sector as recently as October but some certainly around Brexit has helped solidify seven years of uninterrupted growth over the past three months.

The AIB IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for services rose to 56.9 from 55.9 in December, well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

The expansion was driven by the strongest growth in new orders since the end of 2018 and followed a PMI survey for manufacturers that showed a rebound in activity for just the second time in eight months.

“This report, combined with the marked improvement in the manufacturing PMI in January, indicates that the Irish economy got off to a good start in 2020, helped by less uncertainty around Brexit,” said AIB Chief Economist Oliver Mangan.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Catherine Evans

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