Ireland’s service sector activity contracted sharply in January amid the coronavirus pandemic restrictions and the new trading arrangements with the UK, survey data from IHS Markit showed Wednesday.

The AIB Ireland services Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 36.2 in January from 50.1 in December. Any score below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

New business declined in January due to the lockdown restrictions and the new UK trading arrangements post-Brexit.

Outstanding business dropped as the incoming new work decreased. The rate of backlog depletion was the strongest since June last year.

The 12-month outlook remained relatively upbeat as the firms hopes the roll-out of the vaccine program to reduce the need for future lockdowns and thus allow business levels to rebound.

Input prices inflation was the lowest in six months.

Private sector output, covering manufacturing and services, contracted in January. The composite output index declined to 40.3 in January from 53.4 in December.

“The decline was not as severe for new export business as most other countries have not implemented the same extensive lockdown seen in Ireland and the UK,” AIB Chief Economist Oliver Mangan said.

“More encouraging, employment hardly changed in January despite the lockdown, having expanded in December for the first time since last February,” Mangan added.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

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