Eurozone economy accelerates to 11-month high in April

The strength of services comes despite inflation remaining high

By AFP

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Containers are seen at the port of Algeciras, Spain. Concerns over a Europe-wide recession have receded in recent months. - Reuters
Containers are seen at the port of Algeciras, Spain. Concerns over a Europe-wide recession have receded in recent months. - Reuters

Published: Fri 21 Apr 2023, 2:48 PM

The eurozone economy’s growth accelerated in April and hit an 11-month high, according to a closely-watched survey published on Friday.

Data from the HCOB Flash Eurozone purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey published by S&P Global rose to 54.4 in April from 53.7 in March.

A figure above 50 indicates growth.

Cyrus de la Rubia, chief economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank (HCOB), said the indices for the eurozone showed “a very friendly overall picture of an economy that continues to recover” but warned “a closer look reveals that growth is very unevenly distributed”.

“For example, the gap between the partly booming services sector on the one hand and the weakening manufacturing sector on the other has widened further,” he added.

The strength of services comes despite inflation remaining high in the eurozone and incomes that have not kept up with rising consumer prices.

Inflation fell to 6.9 per cent on an annual basis in March, but is still far above the European Central Bank’s two-per cent target.

Although concerns over a Europe-wide recession have receded in recent months, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) official warned Europe would see a “sharp slowdown” in economic growth this year.

“There is certainly in some countries a recession risk, but it’s very different from what we foresaw and feared for, even in January,” Alfred Kammer, the director of the IMF’s European department, told AFP last week.

Germany is the only euro area country the IMF now forecasts will enter recession in 2023.

Kammer said much of Germany’s contraction was due to the ongoing economic impact of the war in Ukraine.

The data also showed a sharp decline in output in France’s manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing firms pointed to subdued demand which S&P Global said was “in some instances were linked to recent strike action” in the country.

In contrast, the sector was “still expanding slightly” in Germany.


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