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Economy in Brief

Growth Steady in Euro-Zone Service Sector after Slowing in March
by Carol Stone May 5, 2004

The Euro-Zone Purchasing Managers Index for the service industries remained basically steady in April at 54.54, compared with March's 54.40. Employment gained, notably, and new business edged higher. But expectations eroded, perhaps a reflection of rising prices. These international PMI surveys are conducted by NTC-Research for Reuters, Inc.

Among the individual countries, Spain rebounded, although it did not recoup fully from March's terror attack-related drop. Activity in Germany and Italy showed modest gains, but lost some ground in France.

Separately, the service sector in Russia advanced in April to 59.43 from 58.67 in March. There were modest improvements in all the components: employment, new business, outstanding business and expectations. At the same time, this gain still left the index, which is compiled by Moscow Narodny Bank, well below the mid-60s range that prevailed last autumn.

Purchasing Managers Index Percent
(>50 = expansion; 
<50 = contraction)
Apr 2004 Mar 2004 Feb 2004 Apr 2003 2003 2002 2001
Euro Zone Total 54.54 54.40 56.22 47.68 56.36 51.58 51.63
  Employment 49.53 49.26 48.17 45.75 46.91 49.35 52.48
  New Business 53.60 53.58 55.47 46.38 50.85 51.24 50.11
  Business Expectations 64.24 66.07 69.79 62.57 65.09 65.74 62.08
Germany 53.30 53.16 54.14 44.60 48.49 48.62 48.87
France 55.04 55.86 58.58 51.12 63.99 54.71 54.26
Italy 55.83 55.18 56.12 49.78 53.34 52.97 53.91
Spain 55.67 53.90 59.09 46.92 52.51 52.57 51.64
Russia 59.43 55.84 56.96 58.90 61.84 58.08 61.20
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