March 5, 2018 / 8:37 AM / a year ago

Spain services PMI expands at fastest pace in seven months in February

MADRID, (Reuters) - Spain’s service sector, which accounts for around half of total economic activity, expanded at its fastest rate in seven months in February, a survey showed on Monday, with job creation and new-order growth continuing at a healthy pace.

Waiters from "Los Galayos" restaurant put away tables and chairs for the night in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of service companies stood at 57.3 in February, up from 56.9 in January. The index has held above the 50 line separating growth from contraction every month since October 2013.

“The growth rebound in the Spanish service sector continued in February, with the rate of expansion in business activity quickening for the third month running,” associate director at HIS Andrew Harker said.

Political concern over Catalonia, which briefly hit the regional economy and confidence at the end of last year after the local government declared independence, has eased and the first quarter looks strong, Harker said.

Spain’s economy grew 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter from a quarter earlier, official data confirmed on Thursday, lifted by exports and rising domestic demand.

The service employment index rose slightly to 55.4 in February from 55.3 in January, as some of those surveyed said that they were increasing their workforce in line with rising new orders, Markit said.

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(Reporting by Paul Day, editing by Larry King); +34 91 585 83 08; Reuters Messaging:

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