|Euro zone services tick up
The key euro zone services sector returned to growth in August. Business activity across the board hit a 26-month high.
Analysts said growth across the 17-country euro zone would remain sluggish after an 18-month recession.
However, the data was not all positive – growth in Germany was not enough to stop employment levels falling while second-ranked France slipped back faster than in July, AFP reports.
The Composite Purchasing Managers' Index compiled by Markit Economics reached 51.5 points in August from 50.5 in July but was down from the 51.7 points flagged in the first flash estimate.
At 50.7 in August, up from 49.8 in July, Markit said its separate PMI for the services sector – which accounts for the bulk of economic activity – showed growth for the first time in 19 months.
Manufacturing activity had already crossed the 50-points boom-or-bust line in July.
The PMI figures came as separate data today confirmed that the euro zone grew an anemic 0.3 percent in the second quarter compared with the first, EU-wide growth coming in at an upwardly-revised 0.4 percent.
“The euro zone recovery is looking increasingly broad-based, with more sectors and more countries emerging from recession,'' said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
“Looking ahead, the hope for the euro zone is that currently rising confidence will encourage businesses to lift their employment and investment plans, and will also encourage consumers to spend more,'' IHS Global Insight analyst Howard Archer said.