Private sector activity across the Eurozone contracted at its slowest pace in 10-months according to Markit’s composite Purchasing Managers Index.
The PMI, which measures business activity across thousands of companies across the Eurozone, hit a 10-month high rising from 47.2 in December to 48.6 in January. Any figure below 50 signals a contraction. The figure is slowly improving, having shown signs of improvement for three-months in a row.
The data suggests that business confidence is growing across most of the single currency region but Markit warned that there are sharp differences between nations. The data highlights the growing gap between the power of Germany (the Eurozone’s biggest economy) and France (the regions second biggest).
“The Euro zone is showing clear signs of healing, with the downturn easing sharply in January and the region moving closer to stabilisation in the first quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
“Growth is heavily skewed towards Germany however, where the contrast with the contraction seen in France is the greatest seen since the survey began in 1998.”
German PMI notched up its biggest one-month rise since August 2009, soaring to its highest since June 2011. But in neighbouring France it plummeted to its lowest in nearly four years.
At 43.6, France’s service PMI was even below readings from Spain and Italy.
The best performing economies were; Ireland: 54.9 2-month high – solid growth,
Germany: 54.4 19-month high – solid growth, Spain: 46.5 19-month high – a slower contraction.
The worst performers were Italy: 45.4 2-month low – a deeper contraction, and France: 42.7 46-month low – a sharpest contraction
Despite the low but steady improvement in the PMI data unemployment in the Eurozone remains at a record high of 11.7% of the working population.
As of 10:25 am
The Pound to Euro exchange rate is currently trading at 1.1669
The Pound to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.5776
The Pound to Australian Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.5171
The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.3517
The Euro to Pound exchange rate is currently trading at 0.8569