Euro’s business growth nears a three-year high

 
Julian Harris
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THE EUROZONE’S recovery appears to be on a relatively strong footing after a leading survey revealed that growth in business activity is approaching a three-year peak.

The success of countries in the bloc remains mixed, however, with the pace of growth speeding up in Germany, while neighbouring France sinks back towards stagnation.

Markit’s latest purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs) showed early readings for April – known as flash estimates – that came in at 56.3 in Germany, 50.5 in France, and an overall score of 54 in the 18 Eurozone states as a whole.

All scores over 50 indicate growth. The higher the number, the faster the rate of expansion.

The composite output number for the Eurozone, up from 53.1 in March, was a 35-month high.

The sub-index that applies to the euro area’s services sector rose to 53.1, itself a 34-month high.

“Perhaps the best news came from the rest of the region [outside France and Germany] where the fastest rate of growth seen since early-2011 suggests that the recovery in the ‘periphery’ is gaining traction,” said Markit’s chief economist Chris Williamson.

“The return to job creation across the region is also very encouraging news,” he added.

The surveys revealed a welcome rise in employment, at the sharpest rate since September 2011.

However, the level of job creation remains “only modest”, Markit said, with factory and services firms still focusing on reducing costs.