Germany 'leads' eurozone service sector growth

Euro coins
Image caption Strong service sector growth in Germany is masking weakness elsewhere in Europe, Markit said

Strong growth in Germany is helping the eurozone's services sector to expand in January, according to early data from a survey.

Markit's Flash Purchasing Managers' Index for the zone rose to 55.2 from 54.2 in December, ahead of forecasts. A reading above 50 means expansion.

But Markit warned that growth in Germany masked weakness in peripheral countries like Greece and Ireland.

"It's becoming a German concentration of strength," said Markit.

The figures marked the 17th month above the 50 level, while Markit's new business index hit a 39-month high of 55.4, up from December's 53.9.

Service sector growth in Germany was 60, a 55-month high.

"The divergence between Germany and the rest of the single currency area has reached a new high," said Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist.

"Outside of France and Germany, the periphery has now seen new orders fall in four of the past five months."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites