New figures from Markit confirm that the Eurozone's order books are back to expansion. Beating economist predictions by a whisker, a composite purchasing manager's index number of 50.5.
Economists had forecast a rise to 50.4, from 48.7 last month.
Nations ranked by all-sector output growth (Jul):
- Germany 52.1, 5-month high
- Italy 49.7, 26-month high
- France 49.1, 17-month high
- Spain 48.6, 25-month high
The services sector approached stagnation, but remained below 50 (implying that the sector is contracting). The final number for the services sector came in at 49.8, a jump from 48.3 last month.
Howard Archer, chief UK and Europe economist, IHS Global Insight:
We believe that Eurozone GDP actually managed to stop contracting in the second quarter of 2013 after a record six quarters of decline as Germany saw faster growth and the rate of contraction slowed appreciably in Italy and Spain.
Rob Dobson, Senior Economist at Markit said:
The final Output Index reading of 50.5 confirms a welcome return to growth for the Eurozone economy at the start of the third quarter, raising hopes that the region can finally claw its way out of its longest-running recession.
Granted, the euro area has experienced false dawns before, but the improvements in confidence and other forward-looking indicators warrant at least some optimism for the outlook this time around.