Activity up for third month in row, latest index shows
THE country's services sector recorded growth for the third straight month in April, the NCB Services Purchasing Managers index indicated yesterday.
The persistent rise in services comes amid signs that growth in the manufacturing sector is spluttering to a halt.
The services index inched higher to stand at 52.2 from 52.1 in March as marketing activities boosted growth and orders flooded in. Any figure above 50 signals growth, while a figure below 50 indicates contraction.
"The rate of expansion in business activity was modest, and in line with that registered in the previous month," said NCB economist Brian Devine.
"A number of respondents suggested that increased marketing activities had helped to support growth of activity during the month. There were also reports of higher new business, particularly from export markets."
April was the ninth consecutive month when new business from abroad expanded.
Everybody from architects to bankers is looking to sell services overseas to make up for shrinking markets back home. The bad news for these providers is that fierce competition is forcing down prices while employers remain reluctant to take on new workers.
In the United States, the services sector also saw growth, although the rate of growth slowed. The sector expanded less than projected as consumer confidence weakened, signaling the economy may be cooling.
The Institute for Supply Management said yesterday its non-manufacturing index fell to a four-month low of 53.5 in April, from 56 in March.