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Italy's Services Activity Growth Fastest In 5 Months

13 January 2018

Japanese manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in nearly four years in December as new orders accelerated, in a sign that steady economic growth will continue into the new year.

Tim Moore, IHS Markit's associate director, said: "The UK construction sector achieved a moderate expansion of business activity at the end of 2017, although the recovery remained uneven and slowed overall since November".

Jobs growth quickened to the fastest since September and stronger than the series trend. The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit final US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index registered 55.1 in December, up from 53.9 in November.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing PMI reached a maximum of five years in December, because of the increase in hiring although it stood at 48.8, compared to 48.9 the previous month. The growth in the sector was attributed to improved demand conditions in sectors like information & communications and finance & insurance. The upturn in outstanding business accelerated and was the quickest since October 2015. "This, in turn, drove a further rise in employment and higher input and output prices".

"However, the sector continues to face some turbulence as delayed customer payments contributed to greater volumes of outstanding work", Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report said.

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Business confidence remained robust in December, with manufacturers reporting the second-highest level of optimism since January 2016.

Those companies included in the report were broadly positive about the outlook for the year ahead with business sentiment rising to a three-month high.

"A key development to watch out for in 2018 is the potential advent of accelerating inflation", said Larry Hatheway, chief economist at GAM.

"The strongest pace of improvement was in the intermediate goods category, followed closely by investment goods, with PMI readings at eighty-two month highs in both cases", the group said.

Italy's Services Activity Growth Fastest In 5 Months