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Germany March Service Sector Growth Eases Less Than Estimated

Germany's service sector growth slowed less than initially estimated in March, final data released by Markit Economics and BME showed Wednesday.

The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the service sector dropped to 52.1 in March from 52.8 in February, marking the second consecutive decline. The index came in above 51.8 estimated earlier. A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while one below suggests decline.

New orders received by German service providers increased at a slower rate in March, extending the current period of expansion to four months. Backlogs of work decreased modestly during the month. Employment in the sector increased for the twenty-sixth successive month in March, making the current period of growth the second longest since the survey began.

Input cost inflation in the service sector rose to a nine-month high in March on higher fuel prices and staff wages. Output charge inflation quickened moderately during the month as firms tried to pass on increased costs to clients.

At the same time, the composite output index, which covers both the manufacturing sector and the services sector, decreased to 51.6 in March from 53.2 in February. The initial estimates for the index was 51.4. The latest rate of growth was the slowest for three months.

"Germany's latest PMI readings are tinged with a mixture of disappointment in the slowing recovery and yet relief that growth has returned at all in the first quarter," Markit senior economist Tim Moore said. "The path ahead remains littered with risks to the recovery, not least as new business inflows slipped back into contraction in March and higher oil prices led input cost inflation to its strongest since June 2011."

by RTT Staff Writer

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