Europe’s manufacturing sector is doing better than at any time since the spring of 2011, according to the latest data from IHS Markit released on Wednesday.
Markit’s manufacturing PMI for the eurozone grew from 55.2 in January, to 55.4 in February. This was a small fall from the 55.5 reading shown by an earlier flash estimate, but represented a 70-month high.
The purchasing managers index (PMI) figures from Markit 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.
Within Europe, Germany’s economic powerhouse helped drive the recovery, growing at its quickest pace in 69 months, thanks to growing output, new orders, exports and purchasing in the state, and a sharp rise in employment. The quickest growing country for manufacturing in February was the Netherlands, followed by Austria.
“National PMI data indicated that seven out of the eight nations covered saw operating conditions improve (the sole exception being Greece). Three countries also registered faster rates of expansion — the Netherlands, Germany and Italy,” a Markit statement said.
Here are the breakout country-by-country readings of the single currency area’s biggest economies, provided by Markit:
- Spain manufacturing — 54.8, previous 55.6
- Italy manufacturing — 55, previous 53
- France manufacturing — 52.2, previous 52.3
- Germany manufacturing — 56.8, previous 56.4
And here is the single currency area-wide chart:
Speaking about the results, Chris Williamson, the chief business economist with IHS Markit said (emphasis ours):
“Euro area manufacturers are reporting the strongest production and order book growth for almost six years, in what’s looking like an increasingly robust upturn.
“Companies clearly expect the good times to persist. This year has seen firms more optimistic about the future than at any time since the region’s debt crisis. Companies are reporting stronger demand in both home and export markets, with the weakened euro providing an accompanying tailwind to help drive sales.
“Given the current buoyant demand environment, manufacturers are eschewing political uncertainty and quietly getting on with growing their businesses. The rate of job creation seen so far this year in the manufacturing sector has consequently been among the best seen in the history of the euro.”
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