Though it’s not anything that could be called a ‘surge’ upward, the eurozone’s economy is still showing signs of recovery as of the the last quarter of 2013, according to Markit, the marketing research company. Data taken from a survey of purchasing managers across Europe indicated that Germany is still well ahead of the field, with its closest competitor, France, trailing by a significant margin.
Activity and production in the region’s factories showed the strongest uptick seen since June of 2011, supporting an overall increase in PMI (purchasing managers index) from 51.7 in November to 52.1 in December of 2013. Markit’s chief economist Chris Williamson observed that the collective PMIs are in line with the minor increase of 0.2 in GDP during the fourth quarter of 2013, and they suggest that there was a significant improvement in the general economy and better things in store for 2014.
Mr. Williamson also noted that the upswing in business activity observed during December was the second-largest increase in the past two and a half years, bringing the overall picture for the last quarter up to the best one seen since 2011. Taken together, Markit’s figures indicate a gradual rebound is taking place in the eurozone, though analysts have been fairly pessimistic in the last few months.
At the moment France is lagging at second place in the recovery mode; Germany’s PMI registered as 55, well over the 50 figure that signifies economic expansion, but France came in at only 47.3, its lowest in seven months. However, according to some economists, the PMIs for France show an unnecessarily gloomy picture that doesn’t match up with other data.
As of the most recent analysis, the eurozone’s economic recovery will be taking place in small and gradual increments in the near future, with exports being the main growth support. The main factors holding it back involve some of the more distressed countries with a high level of private and public debt.