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Eurozone services sector slows slightly in March: survey

(BRUSSELS) - Growth in the service sector of the 13 countries that share the euro lost more steam in March but nonetheless remained at a high level, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The eurozone purchasing managers index (PMI) for the service sector, compiled by the research group NTC Economics, slipped marginally to 57.4 points in March from 57.5 in February.

Private economists had forecast an increase to 57.6 points.

Despite the lower level of activity, the vast service sector continued to show resilience with the forty-fifth consecutive month of growth, as indicated by a figure over 50.

Economists said that the lower level of overall activity was only a minor setback and that the sector was still enjoying strong growth.

"While eurozone service sector activity has lost some momentum in recent months, it is still at an elevated level," said Global Insight economist Howard Archer.

"Indeed, incoming new business and employment growth picked up in March and are clearly above long-term norms, while backlogs of work increased. This bodes well for services activity in the near term at least," he added.

The survey found that incoming order bounced back from a 13-month low in February while order backlogs rose for the nineteenth month in a row.

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