Eurozone Private Sector Growth Fastest Since July

The Eurozone private sector expanded at the fastest pace since July last year as output expanded in Germany, Italy and Spain. But the downturn in the French economy extended into its ninth month.

The final composite output index rose to 52.6 in January from 51.4 in December. It was also above the flash reading of 52.2.

The headline index has now signaled expansion for 19 months running. Output rose across the manufacturing and service sectors.

The final services PMI climbed to 52.7 from 51.6 in December. The flash estimate showed a reading of 52.3 for January.

"The survey data are running at a level consistent with GDP rising by 0.3% in the first quarter, and the move to full-scale quantitative easing by the ECB should help drive even stronger growth in coming months," Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit said.

New order inflows rose to a six-month high in Spain and it recovered in Germany following declines in the prior two months. The trend was near-stagnant in France and a contraction was seen in Italy for the fifth straight month.

The French private sector continued to contract in January. The final composite PMI came in at 49.3, down from 49.7 in December and flash reading of 49.5.

Likewise, the services PMI fell to 49.4 from 50.6 in December. It stayed below the flash score of 49.5.

The composite PMI in Germany rose to 53.5 from 52 a month ago. The flash score was 52.6. Similarly, the services PMI climbed to 54 from 52.1 in December. The flash score was 52.7.

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