Monday, September 8, 2014

8/9/2014: Some Pretty Good Services Data from Ireland

Irish services sectors have been at the forefront of the latest recovery for over two years now, posting booming figures and rosy PMIs. Underlying trends, however, are less often voiced. So let's take a look at the latest data here:

Overall, by value indices, Irish Services sectors posted a reading of 113.2 in July 2014, which is 1.34% up m/m. In previous month, June, m/m rate of increase was 1.45% which suggests slower growth in the sector overall. However, taking longer-range reading provides for a more encouraging picture. 3mo average through April 2014 was up 2.23% compared to same period 2013 and this rose in the 3mo period through July 2014 to 3.20%. 6mo average through July 2014 is also robustly up: +2.72% y/y.

So the above are encouraging trends and visible in the following chart:

As per composition of Services:

  • Wholesale Trade services rose 1.42% m/m in June 2014 but fell 7.10% in July. Volatility aside, 3mo average through April 2014 was up 4.07% y/y and 3mo average through July was up 3.04%, while 6mo average was up 3.54% y/y. All healthy figures even though volatility is worrying.
  • Combined Wholesale and Retail Trade sectors, however, were performing slightly less encouragingly. In June 2014, m/m growth was 0.27% and in July this fell to -0.27%. Again, monthly fall-off is down probably to heavy declines in Wholesale Trade area. But 3mo average through April 2014 was up 4.02% y/y and in 3 months through July this fell to 1.8% - a much more significant decline in growth compared to Wholesale trade alone. 6mo average through July was up 2.89% y/y which is again weaker than 3.54% for Wholesale Trade alone.
  • Transport and Storage posted zero growth in July 2014 in m/m terms, having posted growth of 1.67% m/m in June. 3mo average through April 2014 posted a y/y decline of 1.96% and 3mo average through July posted a rise of only 0.88% y/y, which means that 6 months average through July was down 0.53% on same period in 2013.
  • Accommodation and Food Services activity posted a significant m/m decline of 4.22% in June but managed a small comeback of 0.67% in July. Still, 3mo average through April 2014 was up 3.89% y/y and this moderated to 2.28% growth y/y in 3mo period through July 2014.
  • Information & Communications Services sub-sector is booming. Up 3.73% m/m in June, followed by a rise of 3.52% m/m in June. The sector activity was up 6.88% y/y in 3 months through April 2014 and is now up 9.9% y/y in 3 months through July 2014. Much of this is down to MNCs booking massive revenues through Ireland on their way toward tax optimisation.
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities sector posted a disappointing m/m rise of just 0.62% in May-June 2014, but followed this with a strong 4.03% rise m/m in July 2014. Still, the sector 3mo average activity through April was down 9.35% y/y and it is down 2.17% for the 3 months through July too. The knowledge is not booming, apparently, in the Smart Economy.
  • Administrative & Support Services - another backbone of the ICT services sector and international financial services as many of jobs in the MNCs operating from here have more to do with administration and sales - posted a rise of 1.80% m/m in July 2014 which is an improvement on 1.16% growth in June 2014. The sector is now down 1.85% y/y on the 3mo average basis through July 2014 and is down 0.74% y/y for 6 months through July.

Charts below illustrate trends:

Lastly, a summary of 3mo average moves, with current referencing period of May-July 2014 and previous referencing February-April 2014 period:

All in, the numbers are getting positive, and we have now much greater convergence between the Services PMIs and Services Index performance, suggesting that recent uptrend in Services PMIs ( is going to lead to continued uptrend in actual sector activity.

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