Spain's services sector activity grew last month at the fastest pace in nearly a year as robust demand resulted in businesses increasing capacity and recruiting additional staff, according to the findings of a survey published on Monday.

The HCOB Spain Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), compiled by S&P Global, increased to 56.2 from 56.1 in March, representing the eighth straight month over the 50-mark, dividing growth from contraction, and the highest reading since May last year.  

"Companies broadly attributed increased activity to an improvement in new business volumes," according to the S&P Global report.

Demonstrating optimism about the future, companies continued to hire more staff. The employment index in April stood at 55.5, slightly below the previous month's 55.6, Reuters reports.

"Spanish service providers continuously impress with their performance," stated Jonas Feldhusen, Junior Economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank. "Activity is driven by a consistently high order situation. Despite recent tensions due to high demand for Spanish services abroad, particularly in tourism, leading to domestic political unrest such as protests in Gran Canaria, foreign orders are still growing. Spanish service providers continue to look optimistically towards the future. Although the associated Future Activity index has slightly decreased, it remains above its long-term average."

A sister survey last week indicated that manufacturing activity in Spain grew for the third consecutive month in April. This contrasted with a decline in manufacturing activity in the eurozone as a whole.

Spain's economy expanded at a surprisingly fast 0.7% in Q1, surpassing its eurozone peers.

Last year, the Spanish economy grew by 2.5%, and the government forecasts growth to decelerate to a still strong 2% this year.


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