Europe expands as France sees highest growth since 2011

Europe expands as France sees highest growth since 2011

Growth in the eurozone has started to accelerate, according to new data, as the ‘big four’ European economies are all on track to expand.

The latest composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey from Markit, said growth in the eurozone in February looks to have hit a seven-month high.

The PMI data, which provides an insight into economic activity through surveys of companies, delivered a reading of 53.3 - anything above 50 indicates expansion.

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The region looks to have expanded from January, in which the PMI reading was 52.6, and represented the highest economic output recorded since July 2014.

Importantly, the economic expansion seems to be widespread across the region, with the ‘big four’ eurozone nations - Germany, France, Spain and Italy - all growing.

The Markit report said the key development from February’s data was the fact that France exited stagnation.

Markit said the eurozone’s second-largest economy saw the strongest growth in its output since the cusp on the eurozone crisis in August 2011, 42 months previously.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said: “There were clear signs of the eurozone economy reviving in February, with stronger inflows of new business and rising business confidence suggesting growth should continue to pick up in March.

“The increasingly positive survey data put the region’s GDP on course to grow by 0.3 per cent in the first quarter.”