The eurozone economy continued to grow strongly in February, accelerating at a pace not seen in nearly six years according to the latest confirmed PMI numbers from IHS Markit, released on Friday.
“Growth of eurozone economic output accelerated to a near six-year record in February,” IHS Markit said in a release.
“Output growth was led by the manufacturing sector. Improved inflows of total new orders and new export business drove the rate of expansion in manufacturing production to its highest since April 2011.”
Markit’s final composite figure for the eurozone — a reasonable measure of growth in the continent-wide economy — came in at 56 in February.
That was directly in line with the flash estimate released at the end of February, but substantially above the 54.4 reading released in January.
The purchasing managers index (PMI) figures are given as a number between 0 and 100. Anything above 50 signals growth, while anything below means a contraction in activity — so the higher the better.
Here is the full scoreboard of PMIs released on Friday:
- Services PMI — 55.5 (flash estimate 55.6)
- Composite PMI — 56 (flash estimate 56)
And here is the chart showing the long-term trend:
As is often the case, the month’s strong data was driven by positive February’s for both Germany and France, the eurozone’s two biggest economies. As IHS Markit’s Chief Business Economist Chris Williamson noted:
“Growth accelerated in all of the four largest member states in February to suggest an increasingly sustainable and robust-looking upturn. Both France and Germany look to be on course to grow by 0.6% in the first quarter, with Spain set for at least a 0.7% expansion. Italy is lagging behind but is nevertheless enjoying its best growth for over a year, likely to see GDP rise by 0.4% in the first quarter.”
Here’s how the continent’s largest economies performed:
- French services — 56.4 (flash estimate 56.7)
- French composite — 55.9 (flash estimate 56.2)
- German services — 54.4 (flash estimate 54.4)
- German composite — 56.1 (flash estimate 56.1)