Thursday, June 7, 2012

7/6/2012: Irish Services PMI - May 2012

­­In the previous post (link here) I covered manufacturing PMI, showing a slight lift up in the growth rate from 50.1 in April (stagnant economy reading) to 51.2 in May (sluggish, but growth). More importantly, the 3mo average for March-May 2012 stood at 50.9 (weak expansion) compared to 48.9 average for December 2011-February 2012 (contraction).

Today’s Services PMI paints a weak picture in the other 48% of the private sectors economy in Ireland.

Headline Services PMI fell to 48.9 (contraction) in May from 52.2 in April. This marked the first month of sub-50 reading since January 2012. 12mo MA is at 51.2 and 3mo MA is at 51.1 in line with 12mo MA, slightly below 51.7 average for 2011.

This suggests that 5 months in 2012, growth conditions remain challenging. January-May 2012 average reading is 51.0, which, if sustained through 2012 will imply Services sectors growth of close to, but worse than a 2.15% real contraction in Services in 2011. Not exactly what I would call good news.

Of course, there are loads of various caveats to the above analysis, so don’t take it as some sort of a forecast.

New Business sub-index deteriorated from 52.7 in April to 49.6 in May, posting first usb-50 reading since January 2012. 12mo MA for the sub-index is now at 50.1, in effect implying that new business activity has been stagnant over the last 12 months. 3mo average is at 51.5 and the previous 3mo average was 50.2, some improvement on December-February period is still present. Good news, current 3mo average is ahead of same period averages for 2010 and 2011.

In line with broader indices, employment sub-index has fallen to 49.1 – returning to sub-50 level after March and April departures from the trend. Thus, 12mo MA for employment sub-index is now at 48.0 firmly signaling contraction in jobs in the sector. 3mo MA is at 50.3 owing to 51.9 spike in March, while previous 3mo average is 46.6. Current 3mo average and May level reading are both below the 3mo average for the same periods in 2011. 

Meanwhile, the giddy happiness signalled by the Services sector Confidence indicator bubbled up from 64.1 in April 2012 to 64.3 in May. The indicator runs on a silly scale well off the 50=neutral stance. Give you an example, in 2010, the indicator averaged around 66.7 and in 2011 it averaged 64.8. In both years, Irish Services sectors were, ahem… in a recession.

Output prices continued to fall, with the rate of decline accelerating to 44.4 from 44.9 between April and May. 3mo average through May is now at 45.4 and the previous 3mo average is 45.7. This marks continuation of below-50 readings in output prices since July 2008. Meanwhile, input costs rose at a faster pace (51.4) in May than in April (51.0), with 3mo average through May at 52.5, against previous 3mo average of 54.3.

Predictably, profitability was shot, again. Profitability sub-index fell to 45.8 in May from 47.5 in April.

More on profitability and employment in the following posts as usual.

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