Vibrant growth in Germany helped the euro zone’s services sector expand faster in January despite growing weakness elsewhere in the region.
Markit’s survey of around 2,000 businesses ranging from banks to hotels rose showing growth for the seventeenth straight month.
But Markit warned that behind the strong headline figures, there were few signs that firms in peripheral countries like Ireland and Spain are catching up with Germany and France, the biggest euro zone economies.
“If anything it’s becoming a German concentration of strength,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
“France moved down a gear compared to much of last year, but nothing like what we’re seeing outside where the periphery is close to stagnation.”
Overall, Williamson said January’s data was consistent with first quarter euro zone economic growth of around 0.7 percent.