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German private-sector growth hits eight-month low in March: PMI
[BERLIN] Germany's private sector grew at the slowest pace in eight months in March, but overall business activity remained solid, helped by vibrant services, a survey showed on Tuesday.
Markit's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), tracking activity in manufacturing and services that together account for more than two-thirds of the economy, inched down to 54.0 from 54.1 in the previous month.
That was the weakest reading since July but still above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction, suggesting Europe's largest economy remains robust despite weaker demand from emerging markets.
The sub-index for services fell to a two-month low of 55.1 in March from 55.3 in February as providers reported the weakest rise in new business since October.
"Moreover, a closer look at the sub-indices highlights some concerns that growth may slow further in coming months," Markit economist Oliver Kolodseike said.
He noted that the amount of work in the pipeline increased only slightly while companies were more cautious regarding new staff, with the rate of job creation reaching its lowest level since July.
The sub-index for manufacturing, which was published last Friday, showed factory activity inched up to 50.7 in March from 50.5 in the previous month.
In 2015, strong private consumption and higher state spending drove an overall economic expansion of 1.7 per cent. But most analysts doubt that German growth this year will surpass that pace.
A string of economic data, including industrial output and trade figures for February, will provide more insight this week into how the German economy fared in the first quarter.
Next week, Germany's leading economic institutes will update their joint growth forecast for 2016.