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Eurozone services activity strongest in almost seven years

13 January 2018

The latest JP Morgan-IHS Markit Global Manufacturing PMI rose to 54.5 in December, leaving it near the highest level in almost seven years.

December data indicated a marked improvement in U.S. manufacturing operating conditions.

The UK services PMI, produced by data firm Markit, has jumped to 54.2 for last month, from 53.8 in November. December data also rounded off the strongest quarterly performance since the start of 2015.Output at manufacturers expanded at a steep pace in December, with growth reaching an eleven-month high. "The turnaround in business activity stemmed from growth in Information & Communications and Finance & Insurance, with declines seen elsewhere". Exports sales, however, grew at a marginal pace. Increased capacity pressures were also reflected in backlog accumulation.

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Factories across the globe warned they are finding it increasingly hard to keep up with demand, potentially forcing them to raise prices as the world economy looks set to enjoy its strongest year since 2011.

At the same time, consumer credit continued to expand at a fairly strong £1.4bn on the month.

"However, the sector continues to face some turbulence as delayed customer payments contributed to greater volumes of outstanding work", Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report said. "This, in turn, drove a further rise in employment and higher input and output prices".

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The country's manufacturing sector witnessed higher payroll figures in December while the rate of job creation rose to its highest since August 2012.

Those companies included in the report were broadly positive about the outlook for the year ahead with business sentiment rising to a three-month high.

PMI data saw record highs in Austria, Germany and Ireland and remained close to November's peak in the Netherlands. That's something that likely weighed on staff hiring plans.

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Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "The construction sector ended 2017 on a weak note, and it likely will continue to struggle in 2018".

Eurozone services activity strongest in almost seven years