Business

Eurozone manufacturing growth at 68-month high

European equities got off on the right foot in the new year, pushed higher yesterday by a stellar set of data showing eurozone manufacturing growth at a 68-month high.

With major Asian, London and US markets still closed for the New Year holiday, trading was expected to be light.

But sentiment was brightened by final results of last month's manufacturing surveys that showed robust performances across most of the eurozone, where the uncertainty over the impact of Britain's exit from the European Union has threatened a tepid recovery.

The final eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) figure for last month came at 54.9 points, up from 53.7 in November.

With a result above 50 indicating expansion, the result was the best since April 2011.

The surveys of companies about their performance and outlook are an important early indicator of how economies are faring before official data is collected and processed.

Germany's DAX 30 index rose 0.8 per cent in mid-morning trading, while the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.2 per cent.

Manufacturing in the Netherlands and Austria were also at 68-month highs, with France close behind at a 67-month high, according to IHS Markit.

In another encouraging sign for France, which has been suffering from high unemployment, job creation was at its fastest rate since June 2011.

German manufacturing was at a 35-month high last month.

Italian manufacturing hit a six-month high despite the political uncertainty of a change of government and a bank bailout.

China's official PMI, released on Sunday, showed manufacturing activity slowed slightly in December as the world's second-largest economy stabilises.

The 51.4 registered last month was a drop from 51.7 in November, which had marked its fastest growth for two years. - AFP

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