Page last updated at 10:23 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009

Eurozone economic activity 'hits a two-year high'

European worker
Manufacturing helped to drive economic activity in November

Eurozone economic activity rose at its fastest pace in November for two years, according to an influential survey.

The latest Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) figure rose to 53.7, up from 53 in the previous month, confirming the bloc's recent economic recovery.

The growth was driven by manufacturing output, which scored 54.6, its fastest growth since September 2007.

Figures released earlier this month showed that the eurozone emerged from recession between July and September.

'Fragile' growth

Any PMI score above 50 indicates an expansion in economic activity.

"The November survey suggests that the eurozone continued to expand at a robust pace, raising hopes that GDP growth in the final three months of the year could outpace the 0.4% rise seen the third quarter," said Chris Williamson at Markit Economics, which compiles the PMI.

But he added that the new orders index fell to its lowest level since February. This, together with rising unemployment, "highlighted the fragility of the recovery," he said.

Despite the two-year high, analysts were not getting carried away by the survey.

"The eurozone numbers are not going to set anything alight," said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank.

"It's an expansion that is consistent with [a recovery] which is slow and steady and [the eurozone economy] will probably continue to expand for some months to come, but I don't think we should be expecting a massive pick-up in activity from here."

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