Business Irish

Saturday 19 October 2019

Value of services falls for 1st time since March

Simon Barry of Ulster Bank
Simon Barry of Ulster Bank

Shawn Pogatchnik

THE value of Ireland's services output has fallen for the first time since March, driven lower by reduced professional, scientific and technical activity.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the August value of services fell by 0.6pc versus July but remains 9pc higher than August 2018 levels.

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Analysts credited that annual growth mainly to exceptional gains in information and communication technology (ICT) services.

"Without doubt, year-on-year growth of 9pc is very strong. It is driven by stellar outperformance by ICT services," said Ulster Bank chief economist Simon Barry.

The value of information and communication services rose 0.1pc on the month and were 33.3pc higher than a year ago.

Elsewhere, however, Mr Barry said this year's marked slowdown in manufacturing activity appears belatedly to be "spilling over into the services economy".

The basket of professional, scientific and technical services suffered the sharpest monthly decline - 5.3pc - and was down 16.5pc from a year ago.

Administrative and support services fell 3.8pc from July and 24.9pc from August 2018.

The transportation and storage sectors reported a 1.3pc decline from July, but were up by 10.4pc over the past year.

Reflecting signs of a disappointing August for hotels, the value of accommodation services fell 5.1pc versus July - the sector's first fall on this index since February.

But food and beverage services ranked among the economy's current strongest performers, up 1.8pc versus July and 8.4pc from a year ago.

The CSO survey involved analysing activity at 2,250 services firms with annual revenues exceeding €20m as well as 1,800 retailers and motor trade firms.

Irish Independent

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