Eurozone firms point to growth in September

PURCHASING managers in the Eurozone have signalled the strongest business environment since mid-2011, before the European Central Bank’s aborted interest rate hike.

Announced yesterday by Markit, the euro area’s composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) now stands at 52.1, with any number over 50 indicating growth.

Business activity also rose in July and August, a good indicator for economic growth in the third quarter.

Both manufacturing and services sectors appear to be gaining some ground, suggesting that the Eurozone will not dip back into recession, after meagre growth was recorded between April and June.

Even France, which has not seen a positive PMI number in 19 months, reported a marginal rise in business activity with a score of 50.2.

Eurozone firms are still suggesting that employment is falling, yet it slipped by the smallest amount seen in the past 18 months according to the September survey.

And employment in the services sector finally stabilised, after 20 months of decline.

Berenberg economist Robert Wood said that joblessness in the bloc, which was 12.1 per cent in July, could finally start to ease.

“Eurozone growth is broadening out and accelerating in the second half of the year. Unemployment could start turning down soon,” Wood said.