[MADRID] Strong new business helped Spain's service sector maintain its solid pace of growth last month, according to a survey on Wednesday that may help ease worries about the economic impact of a nine-month political standstill.
Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of service companies stood at 54.7 in September, down from 56 in August but above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction for the 35th consecutive month.
Spain has had only an acting government since inconclusive elections in December and June, but the economy, recovering from a prolonged recession which ended mid-2013, has shown few signs of being hurt by the lack of leadership.
"The rate of growth in activity at Spanish services companies remained solid and completed a decent quarter for the sector, particularly given the uncertain political backdrop," Markit senior economist Andrew Harker said.
"With new orders rising at a faster pace than in August, the prospects of growth continuing for the rest of the year appear good."
The Bank of Spain raised its end-of-year economic forecast on Sept 29 to 3.2 per cent year-on-year from 2.7 per cent previously.
September growth could largely be explained by an expansion in new business, Markit noted, with that PMI index rising to 55.8, the highest since November, from 55.4 in October.