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Global business activity picked up in Jan: PMI

[LONDON] Global business activity accelerated last month as firms cut prices for the first time since the middle of 2013, allowing them to build up a backlog of work, a survey showed on Wednesday.

JPMorgan's Global All-Industry Output Index, produced with Markit, nudged up to 52.8 in January from December's 14-month low of 52.4. It has now held above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction for 28 months.

"The start of 2015 saw the Global PMI Output Index at last edge higher, halting the slowdown in growth signalled by the surveys in the latter half of last year," said David Hensley, a director at JPMorgan.

But an index measuring prices charged fell below the breakeven mark for the first time since June 2013. Conversely, a gauge of unfulfilled orders moved above the key 50-level.

A global PMI covering the service industry rose to 52.9 from December's 52.5, which was also a 14-month low. Global manufacturing activity accelerated modestly in January, a similar survey showed on Monday.

The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia.