Eurozone economy 'strongest' in nearly 6 years

The Nikkei/IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 51.5 in March, its highest level since October, from February's 50.3. A reading of over 50 on the index indicates expansion while that below the benchmark denotes contraction.

A gauge of activity in the eurozone's manufacturing and services sectors rose less sharply in March than initially estimated, but still points to a pickup in economic growth during the first three months of the year. "The country's rapid recovery from the demonetization-related downturn was accompanied by job creation and softer inflationary pressures".

Markit indicated that new work increased at a strong pace although job creation slowed.

Despite this though cost pressures have led to the fastest rise in price since 2008.

Activity in the United Kingdom service sector logged its strongest rise in 2017, bolstering optimism over the British economy as the sector makes up approximately 80% of gross domestic product, industry data showed on Wednesday.

The surveys suggest the higher rate of growth may be maintained over coming months, as new orders arrived at the fastest rate since April 2011.

This a sharp rebound from February, when the sector reported a five-month low.


However, the survey also found some reports of cheaper sterling driving new business for exporters from overseas, while demand improved in particular from the US.

In order to cope with higher workloads, service providers hired additional staff. Employment increased only slightly overall, but to the greatest extent since July 2015.

Markit's final PMI for manufacturing on Monday showed growth had accelerated at the strongest rate in almost six years in March.

'Civil engineering projects were the construction sector's main growth engine in March, driven by rising infrastructure spending and a strong pipeline of new work throughout the UK. The services business activity index rose above the crucial 50.0 level, which indicates the services activity expanded for the month of March.

"But the steady trickle through to consumer prices looks set to continue for several months yet, taking consumer price index inflation towards three per cent in the second half of the year". In contrast to the trend seen in services, purchase cost inflation in the manufacturing industry softened to a four-month low.

At a meeting on Thursday, the Reserve Bank of India is not expected to make any changes to policy and to leave the repo rate at 6.25%, despite inflation remaining below its medium-term target of 4%.


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