A closely-watched indicator of Eurozone manufacturing activity rose slightly in November, as the bloc’s industry recovered confidence following the UK’s June vote to leave the European Union.
The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which is closely watched by policymakers, increased 0.2 points to 53.7, to reach its highest point since the start of 2014. Any figure above 50 denotes growth.
Increases in manufacturers’ confidence in Switzerland, Italy, and France contributed to the rise.
However, a worrying sign for the bloc’s confidence ahead of a politically turbulent few months came from Germany’s manufacturing sector, the economic powerhouse of the EU, which recorded a 0.7 point decline to 54.3.
Eurozone PMI slumped in July and August after the Brexit vote as manufacturers pointed to significant uncertainty, but confidence has recovered strongly in the months since to well above pre-referendum levels.
The Eurozone faces a series of political risks in the next few months, starting with this Sunday's constitutional referendum in Italy.
The figures was published one week before the European Central Bank meets in Frankfurt to discuss the Eurozone’s economic policy. Analysts said they did not expect any shift from the ultra-low interest rate policy the bank has followed since the Eurozone crisis.
ECB president Mario Draghi has been clear in his belief that the accommodative policy has been a major driver behind continental Europe’s recent recovery. Inflation, a partial measure of economic activity, rose yesterday to its highest point in 2.5 years.
However, investors will still watch the ECB meeting closely to determine whether the bank will continue its quantitative easing programme, in which it buys bonds to free up bank balance sheets to lend to others.
The bank is committed to buying bonds until March 2017, but has remained tight-lipped as to policy beyond that point.