Signs of EU turnaround as business expansion hits a four-year high
Eurozone private businesses expanded at their fastest pace in four years this month, a survey showed yesterday, providing the clearest signs yet of a solid recovery in the region.
The readings were complimented by surveys in Germany and France, the bloc's two largest economies, which showed both factories and services firms grew more quickly than expected.
Coming at a time when global financial markets are transfixed by the stand-off between Greece and its creditors, the data are likely to cheer the European Central Bank which is printing €60bn a month to boost growth and inflation.
Markit's Composite Flash Purchasing Managers' Index, based on surveys of thousands of companies and seen as a good growth indicator, rose to 54.1 from 53.6, matching the most optimistic forecast in a Reuters poll. It was the highest reading since May 2011. "This is a decent upturn in terms of business activity, demand and jobs growth and points to 0.4pc economic growth in the second quarter," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
The PMI has now been above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction for two years and that GDP prediction matches a Reuters poll taken last week. To meet the demand firms took on more workers and an employment sub-index only dipped to 51.9 from May's four-year high of 52.3.
The bloc's dominant service industry contributed to most of the overall surge and a PMI covering those firms surged to a four year high of 54.4 from 53.8 in May, above all forecasts in a Reuters poll whose median forecast was 53.6.
Firms, however, cut prices deeper to drum up new business in June, the survey showed. The output price sub index was 49.0, down from 49.3 in May.
A factory PMI rose to 52.5 from 52.2, its highest in over a year. (Reuters)