Eurozone business activity jumps in February

IHS Markit Tuesday said its composite Purchasing Managers Index for the eurozone's manufacturers and service providers, which is based on a survey of 5,000 companies, rose to 56.0 in February from 54.3 in January, reaching its highest level since April 2011.

Reflecting stronger growth in output and new business, firms continued to hire more staff in February, with the overall rate of job creation picking up to reach its highest since June 2011.

The composite sub-index measuring employment, at 54.3, was the highest in more than nine years. Those two figures were 54.3 and 54.4 respectively.

The index remained above the 50 threshold for the sixth consecutive month and marked the fastest expansion since March 2014.

The output component of the PMI index rose to a preliminary 54.3, showing the fastest expansion since February 2014.

The broad-based acceleration, which showed France's momentum getting close to Germany's, suggests that if sustained, economic growth could hit 0.6 percent in the first quarter, according to Markit. "France's revival represents a much-needed broadening out of the region's recovery and bodes well for the eurozone's upturn to become more selfsustaining".

Manufacturing sector growth continued to outpace the service sector expansion. The economist estimated 0.6-0.7 percent growth in the first quarter for both countries.

"We are running out of superlatives to describe the German economy, at least in so far as goes the incredible rise in the PMIs".

The Nikkei's flash manufacturing purchasing managers' index for February, published a week before final PMI data is released, has come in with a reading of 53.5, up from 52.7 in January. The headline PMI was lifted by a slight increase in manufacturing, and a further rebound in the services gauge following recent weakness. The service sector saw the faster growth in France, while manufacturing led the surge in Germany.

  • Leroy Wright