BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s private sector expanded faster in April, recovering from a slight slowdown in growth in March, as both manufacturing and services industry activity rose more than expected, surveys showed on Wednesday.
Markit’s preliminary composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tracks activity in the manufacturing and services sectors and covers more than two-thirds of the euro zone’s largest economy, rose to 56.3 in April from March’s final 54.3.
April’s reading, the 12th straight month above the 50 mark denoting growth, was only one tick below February’s 56.4 - the highest figure in more than 2-1/2 years.
“This is a nice bounce back with good broadbased growth in the services and manufacturing sector... It is looking like it will be a good year for Germany,” Markit economist Chris Williamson said.
“The Ukraine crisis is not dampening business spirits. There may be some concerns among German firms about energy supply but it is not a destabilising force,” he added.
So far the United States and European Union have imposed visa bans and asset freezes on only a limited number of Russians over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea last month.
German business groups have warned that stiffer economic sanctions on Russia could damage the global economy and put at risk 300,000 jobs that are dependant on trade with Russia.
Germany’s economy expanded just 0.4 percent in 2013, but growth is seen picking up this year, driven by domestic demand. The economy ministry is forecasting growth of 1.8 percent in 2014 and 2.0 percent in 2015.
Markit’s PMI for the services sector rose to 55.0 in April from March’s 53.0, easily beating the average forecast of 53.4 in a Reuters poll and above even the highest forecast of 54.0.
The index for the manufacturing sector rose to 54.2 in April from March’s 53.7, exceeding the average forecast in a Reuters poll of 54.0.
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Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Hugh Lawson