Global business growth eases in April - PMI

LONDON Wed May 7, 2014 11:00am EDT

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LONDON May 7 (Reuters) - Global business growth slowed to a six-month low in April as both services firms and manufacturers saw slower expansions in activity and a sales tax rise hit Japanese output, business surveys showed on Wednesday.

JPMorgan's Global All-Industry Output Index, produced with Markit, fell to 52.8 from March's 53.5 but held above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction for the 19th month running.

"It remains at a level consistent with trend global growth, which would be a good outcome considering the likely contraction in Japan following the VAT hike," said David Hensley, a director at JPMorgan.

Manufacturing activity in Japan contracted last month for the first time in more than a year as companies cut production immediately after a rise in the national sales tax.

That was offset by better growth across much of Europe while activity in the United States stayed at a robust clip. The index combines survey data from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. (Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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