The Eurozone economy is likely to have grown at its fastest rate in four and a half years toward the end of 2015, according to survey figures released this morning.
The figures mark a swift turnaround in fortunes for the currency-bloc, which has been blighted by sluggish growth since it was struck by a second recession in three years in 2011.
Markit's composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) – which covers the services, manufacturing and construction sectors – rose to a score of 54.3 in December. Figures above 50 indicate that the economy grew over the course of the month.
The average of October, November and December's scores is the highest quarterly figure since early 2011, when the economy took a second downturn after the 2008 financial crisis.
Ireland and Italy led the way with PMI's of 59.2 and 56, respectively. Higher scores were also posted by Germany and Spain, two of the "big four" Eurozone economies. The French PMI hit an 11-month with a score 50.1, implying the economy barely grew last month.
“The Eurozone economy starts 2016 on a solid footing and well placed to enjoy a year of robust expansion. Growth of business activity continued to edge higher at the end of 2015, with an upturn in the PMI rounding off the strongest quarter for four-and-a-half years," said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson.
“But dig deeper into the numbers and the concern is mainly focused on France. Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland are all enjoying strong expansions, but France is showing signs of stalling once again. A rebound in France is needed to help drive a strong year of growth for the region as a whole.”