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Eurozone: Economic activity posts slower pace of growth

ACTIVITY in the eurozone grew at a much slower pace than expected in January but remained firmly in expansionary territory, a leading economic survey showed yesterday.

The Markit purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) for the single-currency region revealed that the index of composite activity fell for the first time in 10 months to 53.6, above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.

The decline in the composite figure was driven entirely by the services PMI, which is a timely reminder that with the labour market still in recession, eurozone consumers remain cautious about spending, said ING’s Martin van Vliet.

Encouragingly, the manufacturing PMI, which has suffered badly in the recession, made further gains in January to 52.

This acceleration in manufacturing output allowed the German composite index to remain unchanged at 54.2, despite a slowdown in the services sector.

Van Vliet added: “The Eurozone retains significant forward momentum, despite the mild slowdown in private sector activity at the start of 2010.”