European manufacturing remains lacklustre
Euro-area manufacturing growth was little changed last month as stronger readings in Germany, Italy and Spain were offset by contraction in France.
Markit Economics in London said its monthly Purchasing Managers Index points to "anaemic" factory growth. The gauge rose to 51.7 from 51.6 in March, above the 50 level that divides expansion from contraction and a provisional reading of 51.5. The economy of the 19-nation euro area is in what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi says is a "moderate" recovery.
Data last week showed expansion accelerated to 0.6pc in the first quarter, the fastest in a year. The manufacturing report showed that price declines eased in April. "The PMI has now edged higher for two successive months, but has improved only marginally from what was a worryingly low base earlier in the year," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
Mr Williamson said that France remains a "major concern." Its factory index dropped to 48 last month from 49.6.
He said there are "no signs" of ECB stimulus or the weaker euro helping to revive the manufacturing sector.