Exports push eurozone into 20th month of growth
THE eurozone saw its 20th straight month of growth in March, according to Flash PMI figures released last night. Across the 17-country area, manufacturing activity increased by 1.8pc, while services were up 0.8pc in March.
Exports remain the biggest drivers of growth, with domestic demand still fragile in many countries. The data, compiled by research company Markit, shows that a German-led manufacturing boom continues to drive growth.
Euro area composite PMI, which covers manufacturing and service sector activities dipped only slightly from February's near five-year high, to 57.5. PMI figures are based on a survey of industrial managers. The index measures activity on a scale either side of 50. Decreases in activity are recorded from 50 down, and increases from 50 up.
Manufacturing continues to lead the recovery, and France and Germany are seeing the fastest rate of growth in almost five years. Markits economist Chris Williamson said the weakness outside of France and Germany is a result of subdued domestic demand, which has been depressed by austerity measures, high unemployment, plus deleveraging by households and businesses.
Overall, the increase in output is generating more jobs with a bias towards manufacturing and export-oriented sectors. Inflation remains a cause of concern. The input price index for the eurozone's services sector hit 60.6 in March, the highest level since August 2008.