Tuesday, May 7, 2013

7/5/2013: Irish Services Index, Q1 2013 data

Irish Services Index is out today for Q1 2013 and here are some details (monthly data analysis to follow). Keep in mind, data only starts from Q1 2009, so when referencing current levels of activity to peak, that refers to peak from Q1 2009 and not relative to pre-crisis activity.

  • Value in Wholesale & Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles & Motorcycles sector declined in Q1 2013 to 105.2 q/q (down 3.22% from 108.7 in Q4 2012) and is down 5.40% y/y. Q4 2012 value index was down 1.36% y/y, so things are getting worse faster. Relative to peak (since 2009 Q1 data start) the index is now down 5.40%. 
  • Value index for Transportation and Storage sector slipped marginally from 110.5 in Q4 2012 to 110.0 in Q1 2013 (-0.45% q/q) and is up 5.97% y/y. However, rate of annual growth declined in Q1 2013 compared to Q4 2012 when it stood at 8.97%. Relative to peak the index is still down 9.39%.
  • Accommodation and food services activities index also slipped marginally from 104.7 in Q4 2012 to 104.3 in Q1 2013 (down 0.38% q/q). Y/y index is up 3.48% in Q1 2013 and this is a slight gain on 3.05% y/y growth in Q4 2012. However, relative to peak index reading is still down 14.86%.

  • Information and communication sector index remained practically flat in Q1 2013 in q/q terms at 116.6 which is only 0.09% up on 116.5 in Q4 2012. Y/y index is up 3.83% and this shows deceleration in growth from +8.47% growth posted in Q4 2012. Despite this, Q1 2013 marks the peak of activity in this sector for any quarter since Q1 2009.
  • In contrast with ICT sector activity, the knowledge economy core services sub-sector, Professional, scientific and technical activities index has suffered steep declines since 2009. In Q1 2013 the index stood at 91.2 (up 0.22% q/q) up only 0.55% y/y. This marks a minor reversal of a significant decline of -8.36% recorded in 12 month through Q4 2012. The index is down massive 29.14% on peak.

  • Administrative and support service activities index has been a surprising performer during the crisis. In Q4 2012 it stood at 104.7 and Q1 2013 this increased to 110.4 a gain of 5.44% q/q. Index is now up 20.92% y/y and this compounds 11.38% y/y growth recorded in Q4 2012. Q1 2013 marks the peak quarter on record for the sub-sector.
  • Overall services index slipped from 107.2 in Q4 2012 to 106.2 in Q1 2013 (-0.93% q/q), although activity is still up 0.85% y/y. Y/y growth in Q1 2013 marks a slowdown from 2.19% y/y expansion in Q4 2012. The index overall is 0.93% below the peak and is currently running slightly behind the level of activity recorded in Q1 2009.

Overall, quarterly data shows weakening in Services sectors performance, and stripping out the effects of ICT (dominated by tax transfers-booking MNCs), Services side of the economy is showing weaknesses that are alarming. Recall that exports of services growth in 2010-2012 acted to compensate for declines in domestic demand and weaker growth (turning negative) in exports of goods. Should Services activity continue to suffer even modest declines, our GDP and GNP growth will be impaired. 

To see more forward-looking data, read my analysis of Services PMI for April: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.ie/2013/05/352013-irish-services-pmi-april-2013.html
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