The Eurozone looks set to finally break free from the doldrums of persistant stagnation with survey figures pointing to the strongest economic growth in the currency-bloc for four years.
Markit’s composite purchasing managers’ index – which gauges business activity across all sectors of the economy – edged up to 54.3 in August, further in excess of the 50 mark that indicates no change in activity. It was led by impressive growth in Ireland and Spain, but the biggest improver was Italy, where survey-implied growth reached a 53-month high.
Retail sales published this morning by Eurostat showed that Eurozone sales jumped 0.4 per cent in July.
“The rise in euro-zone retail sales in July more than offset the decline in June and suggests that the consumer recovery remains on track,” said economist Jack Allen from Capital Economics.
The Eurozone has struggled to maintain a lasting recovery since the 2008 financial crisis and nearly “triple-dipped” last year.
News the UK’s biggest export market is growing strongly will be welcomed by British businesses, who have had to rely on the domestic market for growth.
However, the data were partially blighted by a slowdown in France. The French PMI dropped to a score of 50.2, indicating that business activity was virtually unchanged from the previous month.