The recovery in the euro zone’s dominant service sector picked up slightly this month according to the latest Markit Eurozone surveys of purchasing managers at companies in the region.
The index, which measures the activities of companies ranging from banks to hotels, has shown growth for 19 straight months.
The Flash Markit Eurozone Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) nudged up to 56.9 in March from 56.8 the previous month, its highest reading since August 2007. Economists has expected it to fall to 56.4.
Euro zone manufacturing also saw solid growth but, like services, that sector is under pressure from surging prices.
The flash manufacturing PMI fell to 57.7 this month from 59.0 in February, missing expectations for 58.4, while the output index dropped to 58.9 from last month’s 10-year high of 61.4.
“You expect to see some dips and dives when they are at these sorts of heights so we are not particularly worried about the downturn in the manufacturing index, it’s still at levels suggesting strong growth,” said Chris Williamson at Markit.