Eurozone private sector growth beats forecasts
LONDON - Reuters
Eurozone private sector expanded in July at a fast rate, a survey has showed. German businesses’ recovery has been the main drive of the rally. REUTERS photoBusiness activity across the eurozone has picked up this month at a faster pace than expected, surveys showed Aug.22, led by Germany as it benefited from growing demand for its exports.
Survey compiler Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) bounced to 51.7 from last month’s 50.5.
It was the highest reading since June 2011 and beat all predictions. Readings above 50 signify expansion in activity.
While growth accelerated in the eurozone’s biggest economy, it was a different story in France, the bloc’s second largest economy, which saw business fall as its economy went into a summer lull. But Markit said the composite PMI, which surveys thousands of companies across the region and is used as an indicator of growth, pointed to a 0.2-0.3 percent economic expansion in the current quarter.
“It’s looking good. If the eurozone is picking up then that bodes well for the global economy. The wobble in France is a bit of a worry, but hopefully that will be corrected,” said Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist.
Growth returned to the region’s dominant service sector - the services PMI rose above the 50 mark for the first time since the start of last year, coming in at 51.0 after 49.8 in July. An earlier flash composite PMI from Germany showed the growth rate was the fastest in seven months but in France activity declined across the board.
Support from Germany and France, the 17-nation bloc’s two biggest economies, helped it escape from its longest recession on record last quarter, expanding a better-than-expected but still modest 0.3 percent.
The problem faced by the European Central Bank in trying to stimulate growth - as it has been for some years - is still the heavily indebted south. But Williamson said manufacturing and services activity was improving in the periphery.
New business in the bloc increased for the first time in just over two years, supported by orders coming in for manufactured goods from abroad at their fastest rate since May 2011. Despite the upturn, expectations among services firms dipped from July’s 16-month high and manufacturers reduced their workforce at a faster pace than last month.