The euro zone’s services industries returned to growth for the first time in 16 months in September.
Economists said that demonstrated the recovery has spread from manufacturing to services. The latest figures were compiled from surveys sent to purchasing managers at 2,000 companies. France was the best performer while Germany held steady. And Britain’s service sector expanded at its fastest pace for two years in September. In addition UK firms were more optimistic about the year ahead than at any time since April 2007. At the same time, the EU’s statistics office Eurostat released figures showing that retail sales in the 16 countries using the euro fell less than expected, month-on-month, in August. They were down 0.2 percent from July and dropped 2.6 percent year-on-year, a signal that consumer demand may be picking up.