DUBLIN (Reuters) - The near record pace of growth in Ireland's services sector moderated slightly in April, and the prices charged by firms hit a fresh high as they grappled with rising costs, a survey showed on Thursday.
The AIB S&P Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 61.7 from 63.4 in March, well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction. The series hit a 20-year high of 66.6 last July.
Rising input price inflation, which last month soared to the highest level since the survey began in 2000, also moderated a touch last month but was still significantly higher than the long-run average.
Irish inflation hit a near 40-year high of 7.3% in April, according to estimates from Eurostat on Friday. Prices charged by service providers rose at a record pace for the second successive month.
"The rebound in demand is putting growing pressure on operating capacity, with another significant rise in outstanding business in the month. Some firms reported a lack of resources to cope with the marked pick-up in demand," AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan said.
"Businesses continued to experience severe upward pressure on input prices, in particular from higher wages, energy, fuel, insurance, shipping and food costs."
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)