China leaps ahead as Europe ambles forward
LONDON (REUTERS) – Growth in Chinese manufacturing accelerated to a two-year high this
month, and a buoyant Germany took the euro zone economy a step closer to recovery.
Data to be reported later from the United States, however, is expected to show factory activity eased, after boosting production to a seven-month high last month.
HSBC’s flash China PMI rose to 51.9 this month, the highest since January 2011. The earliest preview of China’s economic health this year, the flash PMI is the latest indication that the world’s second-largest economy is steadily recovering from a near two-year cool-down.
The euro zone data, meanwhile, supports European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi’s assertion that the 17-nation currency union is benefiting from “positive contagion”, though the data still hints at economic contraction in the first quarter as the downturn in France went the opposite direction to Germany and deepened.