Amended: Eurozone Private Sector Expands At Fastest Pace In Over 2 Yrs

Corrects month in the second paragraph

Eurozone's private sector business activity expanded at the sharpest pace in more than two years in August, preliminary results of a survey by Markit Economics revealed Thursday.

The headline composite output index, a gauge of business activity in both manufacturing and services, rose to a 26-month high of 51.7 in August from 50.5 in July. Economists had forecast the score to rise to 50.9.

Index readings above 50 indicate expansion of the sector, while readings below 50 suggest contraction.

The manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to 51.3 in August from 50.3 in July. This was the highest reading in 26 months and was above the expected score of 50.7.

The manufacturing output index rose to 53.4 from 52.3 in the previous month. This was the highest index reading in 27 months.

The services PMI climbed to a 24-month high of 51 from 49.8 in July. The consensus score was 50.2.

New business received by Eurozone's private sector firms increased marginally. While new orders received by manufacturers rose at the sharpest pace since May 2011, new business at service providers continued to fall.

Employment fell for the twentieth successive month, with rates of job losses accelerating slightly in both manufacturing and services compared with July.

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