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News : EU Economy Last Updated: Jul 3, 2014 - 11:56 AM

Business activity in the Eurozone service sector eased in June
By Finfacts Team
Jul 3, 2014 - 9:29 AM

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Business activity in the Eurozone service sector expanded for the eleventh successive month in June. The Eurozone Services Business Activity Index dipped to a three-month low of 52.8, from 53.2 in May, but nonetheless provided a solid end to the best quarter for three years.

Markit said the outlook for the sector also remained relatively bright, with the growth rate for new orders accelerating to its highest since May 2011 and business confidence hitting a three-month peak. A third successive month of modest job creation also suggested that services companies remained optimistic regarding the coming months.

Business activity and new orders rose in Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland. Ireland again recorded the steepest expansions, with the growth rates in output and new orders at or close to seven-year peaks. This underpinned a stronger gain in payroll numbers.

Germany was in second position in the output growth table, despite seeing rates of expansion in activity and new business ease slightly from May’s highs. German service providers also reported solid job creation. Spain saw a modest increase in employment, despite slower rates of increase for both demand and output.

The performance of the Italian service sector continued to brighten in June, with business activity and new orders rising at the sharpest rates since November 2010 and July 2007 respectively. This failed to result in job creation, however, with staffing levels broadly unchanged over the month.

France remained the main drag on the generally positive performance of the Eurozone service sector, being the only one of the big-four nations to record a contraction in either business activity or new orders. Employment fell for the eighth successive month.

Input price pressures continued to increase at Eurozone service providers in June, as costs rose at the fastest pace since November 2013. This mainly reflected higher oil prices and staff costs. Strong competition prevented companies from passing the increase on to clients, however, as selling prices fell for the thirty-first month running.

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