Eurozone manufacturing flat in February

 
Emma Haslett
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Orders for German manufacturers, such as Rolls-Royce's Berlin plant, were lower than expected (Source: Getty)

The Eurozone's manufacturing sector showed disappointing growth in February, figures out this morning have shown.

Markit's Eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) hit 51 in February. That's down from the flash estimate of 51.1, and flat on the 51 it hit in January.

Still, at least the region's manufacturers can take some solace in the fact the sector is still expanding - any number above 50 denotes growth. And the 51 achieved in January was a six-month high for the sector.

Digging down into the figures, Ireland was the success story, hitting a 182-month high of 57.5, while Italy's manufacturing PMI rose to 51.9, the first time it's been over 50 in five months.

For France, however, the index fell to 47.6, down from 49.2 in January, while Germany's manufacturers recorded 50.9 - suggesting that these days it's hardly the bastion of manufacturing excellence it once was.

Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist, pointed to the "malaise" still hanging over the region's goods-producing economy, but suggested things are likely to improve once the European Central Bank (ECB) launches its quantitative easing programme.

Coming months will hopefully see all countries’ manufacturing sectors pick up speed, as business and consumer confidence is buoyed by ECB stimulus. The recent fall in the euro should also provide a noticeable stimulant to export sales.

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