Services sector shows sharp rise in activity
Ireland's services sector recorded a sharp increase in activity, new orders and employment as 2017 drew to a close.
The expectation of new business from home and abroad, as well as predictions of further improvement in the economy, helped bolster confidence among companies, according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index for the sector.
Philip O'Sullivan, economist with specialist bank Investec, which publishes the monthly data, said the momentum behind the Irish economy entering 2018 is strong.
"The report shows that new orders grew at a slightly faster pace in December than in the previous month, with more than two-and-a-half times as many panellists reporting a rise in new business as opposed to those disclosing a decline," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"The most recent improvement seems to have been domestically-driven, as the new export Orders component saw a moderation in the implied growth rate, notwithstanding higher orders from UK clients."
At 60.4 in December, up from 56.0 in November, the headline seasonally adjusted Business Activity Index signalled a sharp upturn in activity.
The services data comes just days after a separate survey showed that new orders and employment in the manufacturing sector here grew at their fastest pace in 20 years.
Higher new orders against the backdrop of a booming economy at home, and strong demand from abroad, helped drive a sharp rise in the number of jobs being created.
Meanwhile, Britain's economy appears to have picked up some speed in late 2017.
The IHS Markit/CIPS services PMI rose to 54.2 in December, its second-highest reading since April.