The pace of contraction in Eurozone service sector activities slowed in March compared to February, reports said citing data from the Markit Economics.

The purchasing managers' index or PMI rose to 40.9 in March from February's 39.2 and a flash reading of 40.1.

A PMI reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector, while below 50 suggests contraction.

The composite index, which combines both service sector and manufacturing sector PMIs, increased to 38.3 from 36.2 in the previous month. That was reportedly the biggest monthly rise since October 2003. It was also up from the preliminary reading of 37.6.

In separate reports, the Markit Economics said the PMI for Germany's service sector rose to 42.3 from February's 41.3. The Markit/CDAF final PMI for the French service sector improved to 43.6 from 40.2 in February.

The PMI for Italy's service sector stood at 39.1 in March. Economists had expected the PMI to increase to 38.2.

Outside the euro area, the CIPS/NTC services PMI for the UK rose to 45.5 in March from 43.2 in February, while the consensus forecast was 43.5.

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