Ireland’s services sector grew for the 19th month in a row in February and companies were at their most optimistic in a decade, a new survey showed on Wednesday. <p>

The Investec Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of activity in the services sector, which covers businesses from banks to hotels and accounts for roughly 70% of economic output, came in at 57.5 in February. That was down from 61.5 in January but still far above the 50 line that divides expansion in activity from contraction. <p>

The sector has grown in every month since July 2012, but the expansion has slowed from December, when the index hit its highest level since February 2007. <p>

Even so, Irish companies were markedly more optimistic about the future with nearly 65% of those surveyed forecasting higher activity in 12 months’ time, versus 5% expecting a fall.
<p><h5>Alan McQuaid</h5>


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