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Spain's April services PMI shows expansion continues, but employment growth slows

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Spain's service businesses expanded in April at a slightly slower pace than they had a month earlier, a survey showed on Wednesday, and new business and employment weakened amid political uncertainty December's inconclusive election.

[MADRID] Spain's service businesses expanded in April at a slightly slower pace than they had a month earlier, a survey showed on Wednesday, and new business and employment weakened amid political uncertainty December's inconclusive election.

Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of service companies stood at 55.1 in April, down from 55.3 in March. April's reading marked two-and-a-half years that the index has come in above the 50 line separating growth from contraction. "While the headline activity figure from the latest Spain services PMI suggests that growth remained marked during April, other indices from the survey paint a less positive picture,"economist at Markit Andrew Harker said.

New business registered the weakest rise in more than a year, and service providers hired extra staff at the slowest pace since January 2015, in part because of political uncertainty, Mr Harker said.

The services employment index fell to 52.2 in April, down from 53.4 in March.

Spain's King Felipe dissolved parliament on Tuesday and called a parliamentary election for June 26, the second in six months, after December's election left Spain's political landscape fragmented.

REUTERS