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[BERLIN] Germany's private sector grew in October for the 18th month in a row but output rose more slowly, a survey showed on Wednesday, suggesting Europe's largest economy may eke out meagre growth at the end of the year.
Markit's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which tracks activity in the manufacturing and services sectors that account for more than two-thirds of the economy, fell to 53.9 from 54.1 in September.
That was well above the 50 line dividing growth from contraction but below an initial reading of 54.3 and far below levels seen earlier in the year. "While manufacturing output increased at a sharper rate, service sector activity growth slowed," Markit said, adding that output and new orders in October both rose at a weaker pace in the service segment.
The PMI index tracking services alone fell to 54.4, a seven-month low, from 55.7 in September, while the business outlook in this sector dropped to a 22-month low.
Weaker increases in activity and new orders resulted in slower service sector employment growth and a further reduction in work outstanding, the survey showed.
The German economy had a strong start to 2014 but contracted in the second quarter and fears about a recession are rife. Economists expect third-quarter gross domestic product figures due on Nov 14 to show growth of around 0.2 per cent, cancelling out the 0.2 per cent contraction in April-June.
Germany has cut its growth forecasts for this year and next to 1.2 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively, blaming modest global growth and international crises.