Estimates of March's Purchasing Managers' Index show the U.S. manufacturing sector performing at the mildly positive 54.9 level, a mixed indication considering that analysts offered forecasts ranging from 54.8 to 55.1. Compared to recent activity, the new figure isn't quite January's 56.1 high but comfortably above October's 51.3 low.

Flash estimates already show that China's manufacturing sector is performing better than expected at the 51.7 level, above the forecast 51.2 and well above the previous month's 50.4 actual.

Estimates from the euro zone are below expectations. Germany has fallen back below 50 after it managed just above the break-even level in February for the first time since February 2012. France remained at the previous month's 43.9, underperforming against the 44.4 forecast. The euro zone's overall levels remain well below 50. The new flash figure for March is 46.6 despite an optimistic forecast of 48.2.

Flash figures are based on early results from businesses surveyed in each month's PMI and represent about 85 percent of the participants.