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German private sector expands at slowest pace in eight months in June: PMI

BERLIN, (Reuters) - Germany's private sector expanded at the slowest rate in eight months in June, a survey showed on Thursday, as manufacturing lost steam, although Europe's largest economy looked set to post solid growth in the second quarter.

Markit's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which tracks growth in the manufacturing and services sectors, fell to 54.0 in June from 55.6 in May.

That was well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction but was the lowest level since October last year and also came in below a flash estimate of 54.2.

The services sector PMI fell to 54.6 in June from 56.0 a month earlier and also below the 54.8 flash estimate, but Markit said the sector had grown at the fastest rate in three years in the second quarter.

"While the services sector is clearly making a strong contribution to growth in the German economy, the manufacturing sector lost some momentum in June," said PMI economist Oliver Kolodseike.

He said Germany looked on course for 0.7 percent economic growth in the second quarter, which would be just down from 0.8 percent growth in the first three months of the year.

Economists and the government expect growth to ease slightly, with the government forecasting a 1.8 percent expansion overall this year.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Hugh Lawson)