MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s services sector ended last year on an upbeat note, registering its briskest activity in nine months in December in spite of political and economic concerns both at home and abroad, a business survey showed on Monday.
Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of services companies, which account for around half of Spain’s economic output, stood at 54.9 last month, up from 53.2 in November to its highest mark since March.
The index has held above the 50 line separating growth from contraction for just over six years.
“Against the backdrop of ongoing economic and political uncertainties, the solid and accelerated rise in activity is perhaps somewhat surprising but nonetheless should ensure a solid rise in GDP in the fourth quarter of at least 0.4%,” IHS Markit Economics Director Paul Smith said in a statement.
The solid performance of services in the Spanish private sector contrasts with the ongoing weakness shown by manufacturers.
A sister survey last week showed Spain’s manufacturing sector contracted for the seventh month in a row in December, with output falling at its fastest rate since April 2013.
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(Reporting by Jose Elías Rodríguez; Editing by Hugh Lawson)