March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s services sector expanded for a second month in February after the Nordic region’s largest economy grew more than forecast in the fourth quarter, a survey by Swedbank AB indicated.
An index based on responses from about 200 purchasing managers in the services sector was a seasonally adjusted 54.6 in February compared with a revised 52.6 the previous month, Stockholm-based Swedbank, which compiles the index, said in a statement today. A reading above 50 signals an expansion.
“New orders and employment made the biggest contribution to that PMI services rose in the month of February,” Swedbank said in the statement. “The sub-index for business volumes continued to rise as the situation for orders improved while the index for delivery times fell.”
Sweden’s economy grew an annual 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter compared with analyst predictions of 1.1 percent. Growth will accelerate to 1.1 percent in 2013 and 3 percent in 2014, the government forecast on Dec. 21. Swedish manufacturing expanded for the first time in seven months in February.
“We’re seeing a stabilization of the Swedish economy,” Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said on March 1. “We’ve had several signs of that.”
Swedish economic growth slowed to 0.8 percent last year from 3.7 percent in 2011 because of falling demand for exports from Europe where countries are cutting spending to reduce debt. Exports account for about half of Swedish output.
PMI’s business volumes sub-index rose to 56.9 in February from 55.9 in January, the order index increased to 57.2 from 54.1 and the employment index rose to 52.3 from 48.3. The delivery time index decreased to 49.3 from 50.
Swedish annual services production grew 0.8 percent in January and 0.5 percent compared with the previous month, according to a separate statement from Statistics Sweden today. Annual services production fell a revised 1.1 percent in December and decreased a monthly 0.9 percent that month.
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