The services sector here continued to grow in March, according to Investec’s latest Purchasing Managers’ Index, continuing a trend that began two and a half years ago.

The index stood at 60.9 during the month – with any figure above 50 indicating growth.

March did mark the slowest pace of growth in the previous twelve months, however, and continued a trend of moderation which began in December 2014.

Despite this there was further growth in new orders during the month, while those surveyed expected a further improvement in the economy over the next year.

Overall profitability continued to improve in the sector during the three months to March, while businesses expected a further rise in employment.

The European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme has also had a significant effect on the industry, due to its impact on the currency market.

A weaker euro has made input prices higher, according to many of those surveyed, but output prices improved as companies sold more products abroad.

The services sector covers everything from tourism to IT and the financial services sector.