German service sector business activity hits two-year high

Business activity in Germany's service sector rose at the fastest rate for two years in December, marking a strong finish to a highly positive year for the eurozone's largest economy, according to the latest PMI survey data from IHS Markit.

The rise in business activity was matched by similar robust increases in new work and employment, with rates of growth accelerating slightly in both cases.

Firms' confidence towards future prospects rebounded after easing in November and was among the highest seen in the past seven years.

The seasonally adjusted final IHS Markit Germany Services PMI Business Activity Index climbed to 55.8 in December from 54.3 in November, recording its highest reading since the final month of 2015.

This latest increase in business activity extended a sequence of growth seen since mid-2013, with the average pace of expansion for the year as a whole the best since 2011.

Higher levels of business activity were recorded in all broad categories of the services economy: financial intermediation, hotels & restaurants, other services, post & telecommunications, renting & business activities and transport & storage.

Growth of manufacturing production accelerated for the second month running to reach the fastest seen for almost seven years, thereby lifting the final IHS Markit Germany Composite Output Index to an 80-month high of 58.9, from 57.3 in November.