Euro-Area Manufacturing Expands Faster Than Estimated

Euro-area factory output expanded faster than initially estimated in January, led by Germany and France, as the currency bloc’s economic recovery gained traction.

An index based on a survey of purchasing managers in the manufacturing industry increased to 54 from 52.7 in December, London-based Markit Economics said in a statement today. That exceeds Markit’s initial estimate of 53.9 on Jan. 23. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The euro-area performance was driven by Germany. The Markit index for the bloc’s largest economy beat the flash estimate and increased to 56.5, a 32-month high, from 54.3. In France, the gauge rose to a four-month high of 49.3.

Today’s manufacturing data added to encouraging signs that Europe’s nascent recovery is strengthening. Economic confidence increased for a ninth month in January, and industrial production increased an annual 3 percent in November. The European Central Bank forecasts 1.1 percent economic growth in the euro zone this year, accelerating to 1.5 percent in 2015.

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