LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) – Euro zone business activity expanded at its fastest monthly pace in over two decades in July as the loosening of more COVID-19 restrictions gave a boost to services but fears of another wave of infections hit business confidence, a survey showed.
With vaccination rates accelerating and the burden on health care easing governments have lifted some of the curbs they imposed to try and contain the virus’ spread, unleashing pent-up demand.
IHS Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, seen as a good guide to economic health, climbed to 60.6 in July from 59.5, its highest reading since July 2000. It was ahead of the 50-mark separating growth from contraction and a Reuters poll estimate for 60.0.
“The euro zone is enjoying a summer growth spurt as the loosening of virus-fighting restrictions in July has propelled growth to the fastest for 21 years,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.