The rate of expansion in the country’s services sector slowed for the sixth month in a row in October with a survey today showing it at the second-weakest level of the current 32-month upturn.
The AIB Global S&P Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 52.6 from 54.5 in September.
The index has stayed above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction since early 2021 and comfortably so for the first nine months of the year.
However the volume of new business rose only fractionally last month and demand from abroad for Irish services contracted for the first time in 32 months.
The services sector covers areas as diverse as communication, financial and business services, IT and the tourism trade.
AIB said the weakening demand conditions pointed to a further loss of momentum in the sector in the next couple of months.
Service firms continued to hire more staff, but that was also at the slowest rate in 32 months.
Inflationary pressures eased, offering some relief after they had shown signs of becoming sticky in the previous two months, while the 12-month outlook for activity also improved slightly.
“Firms linked confidence for 2024 to planned new products and services, recovering market conditions, a halt to the cycle of interest rate rises and reduced inflation,” AIB said.