A host of Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, data from Markit released Monday underlined the ongoing recovery in the manufacturing sectors of Europe and the UK.
In the euro zone, seasonally adjusted PMI stood at 53.2 in February, higher than an earlier flash estimate of 53.0 although it was a dip from January’s 32-month high of 54.0, but the data showed that the manufacturing recovery had completed its eighth successive month, according to a statement from Markit.
“With new orders and backlogs of work still rising at reasonable rates, further ongoing expansion is signalled for coming months,” Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist, said in the statement, adding: “February was the first time for almost three years that output rose in all four of the largest euro nations.”
In France, output rose for the first time in seven months, helping PMI to climb to 49.7 in February from 49.3 in January. The latest reading was also higher than the earlier flash estimate of 48.5.
“Signs of stability in the French manufacturing sector were evident in February, with output rising slightly and new orders declining at a slower pace,” said Jack Kennedy, a senior economist at Markit, in a statement, adding that the latest PMI suggested “that the sector is at least starting to hold its ground even if a return to growth remains elusive.”
A reading above 50 signals expansion while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Germany’s manufacturing sector continued its healthy run, with PMI climbing for the eighth straight month to register a reading of 54.8 in February.
“Sustaining the economic upturn in coming months is the key, and with companies reporting strong expansions in new orders and export sales, the sector looks set for further growth in the near future,” Oliver Kolodseike, an economist at Markit, said in a statement.
In the UK, employment in the country’s manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace since May 2011, helped along by an improvement in production and new orders.
February’s Markit/CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply) reading of the PMI stood at 56.9, up from a revised reading of 56.6 and suggested improved operating conditions for the eleventh straight month.
“The survey suggests we should expect another quarter of robust economic growth in the opening quarter of the year,” Rob Dobson, a senior economist at Markit, said in a statement.
However, Markit’s Williamson, speaking about the recovery in the euro zone, sounded a note of caution and said: “The dip in the manufacturing PMI, its first fall for five months, is a disappointment and a reminder of the hesitant nature of the region’s nascent recovery.”