Euro zone business activity growing faster than thought in September: PMI

Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:03am EDT
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By Jonathan Cable

LONDON (Reuters) - Business activity in the euro zone has grown faster than expected this month as new orders flood in at their fastest pace in over two years, surveys showed on Monday, adding to signs that the economy is healing.

The surveys suggest the region's economic recovery was becoming more broad-based with growth in both Germany and France, the bloc's two largest economies.

Markit's Flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) jumped to 52.1 from last month's 51.5, its highest since June 2011 and beating expectations for 51.9.

The pace of growth in the bloc's dominant services sector beat all forecasts in a Reuters poll. The PMI came in at 52.1, well ahead of August's 50.7 and comfortably above median expectations for a more modest rise to 51.0.

A reading above 50 indicates growth.

"These surveys show a real underlying swell of improvement. It's all looking very positive," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Businesses in Germany, Europe's largest economy, expanded at a faster pace than last month and in France, the bloc's second biggest economy, activity increased - albeit marginally - for the first time in 19 months.

New business in the bloc increased again this month, according to the composite subindex, which rose to 51.6 from 51.0, pushing business expectations among services firms to an 18-month high.   Continued...

A woman walks by a pawn shop in central Athens August 26, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis