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07 Apr 2021 | 10:08

Manufacturing surge fuels eurozone revival - PMI

(Sharecast News) - Business activity in the eurozone returned to growth in March as manufacturing output surged and services improved, a survey showed. The final IHS Markit Eurozone composite purchasing managers' index rose to 53.2, outstripping an earlier estimate of 52.5 and recovering from a score of 48.8 in February.

Services activity rose to 49.6 from 45.7 and beat the 48.8 preliminary reading. In all cases a score of 50 marks the difference between growth and shrinkage.

The currency zone's second-fastest increase in business output for two and a half years was driven by the strongest increase in manufacturing production in almost 24 years of data collection. Services output fell but at the slowest pace in the past seven months.

Conditions improved across the eurozone with all countries improving on February. Germany led the revival with a score of 57.3, marking a 37-month high for Europe's biggest economy and manufacturer.

Business confidence improved to a 37-month high, boosted by hopes that vaccination programmes will support a strong rise in activity in the second half of 2021.

Chris Williamson, IHS Markit's chief business economist, said: "Manufacturing is booming, led by surging production in Germany, and the hard-hit service sector has come close to stabilising as optimism about the outlook improved further during the month. Firms' expectations of growth are running at the highest for just over three years amid growing hopes that the vaccine roll-out will boost sales in the coming months."

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