Italy's Services Activity Growth Fastest In 5 Months

Momentum in business activity is not yet back to where it was in October 2016 but it’s improving

Momentum in business activity is not yet back to where it was in October 2016 but it’s improving

Healthy business performance, supported by fastest expansions in output and new orders, and stronger market demand are pointing to the revival in the country's industrial economy.

Jobs growth quickened to the fastest since September and stronger than the series trend. Backlogs meanwhile increased at the quickest rate since October 2015 to indicate ongoing capacity pressures. Charge inflation, however, softened.

The UK services PMI, produced by data firm Markit, has jumped to 54.2 for last month, from 53.8 in November.

Survey respondents indicated that house building remained a key engine of growth, with residential work expanding for the sixteenth consecutive month in December. Anecdotal evidence cited an improved flow of enquiries in recent months, along with a gradual upturn in clients' willingness to commit to new work.

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Pacing gains on the latter was stock in Fiat Chrysler and Ubi Banca, with the former apparently boosted by the outlook for sales on the other side of the Pond thanks to recently approved tax cuts. Furthermore, the marked rate of increase was the second-fastest since December 2013.

Even if the rate of input cost inflation has risen since November, it continued to be weaker than February's peak. As a result, pre production stocks also expanded at the end of the year.

The number of new jobs being created across the sector touched its highest level since June, according to the report, which showed housebuilding work had grown for the 16th month on the bounce.

"The eurozone manufacturing boom gained further momentum in December, rounding off the best year on record and setting the scene for a strong start to 2018", said chief business economist at IHS Markit, Chris Williamson. Volkswagen AG's main passenger-car brand said last Friday that production reached a record high a year ago with global output of more than 6 million vehicles, while Philippe Buros, Renault SA head of sales for France, told BFM Business radio Tuesday that French orders are up too.

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