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[BERLIN] Germany's private sector expanded in September, a survey showed on Monday, and while the rate of growth was slower than a month before, it still suggested Europe's largest economy was on track for solid growth in the third quarter.
Markit's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index, which tracks activity in the manufacturing and services sectors that together account for more than two-thirds of the German economy, dropped to 54.1 in September from 55.0 in the previous month.
That was the 29th consecutive month that the composite index was above the 50 mark separating expansion from contraction, but the reading was slightly below a flash estimate of 54.3. "The results from the services PMI come on the back of positive manufacturing numbers, suggesting that the upturn in Germany's private sector remains broad-based," Markit economist Oliver Kolodseike said, adding that the PMI data pointed to moderate growth in the July-September period.
The index for the services sector also fell slightly to 54.1 from 54.9 the previous month but it remained above the long-run series average and new orders in the sector rose at their strongest rate in a year.
Some service providers said increased activity was a result of the need to build accommodation for an influx of refugees and asylum seekers expected to hit 800,000 by the end of the year.
Service firms were slightly less upbeat about their future prospects than in August but they remained optimistic overall. "Germany's service sector ended the third quarter on a solid footing. Output continued to rise at a robust rate as service providers benefitted from increased demand," Mr Kolodseike said.
The higher inflows of new work led to service providers hiring new staff at the strongest rate since the end of 2011.
Detailed PMI data are only available under licence from Markit and customers need to apply to Markit for a licence.