The Straits Times
Published on Jan 24, 2013

Recession-hit euro zone has turned a corner, survey shows


LONDON (REUTERS) - The euro zone economy took a step closer to recovery this month as the rate of decline in the bloc's private sector eased more than expected, according to a key business survey.

The survey, published by data collector Markit, supports European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi's assertion that the 17-nation currency union is benefiting from "positive contagion", although still with hints of an economic contraction in the first quarter the year.

Markit's flash composite euro zone purchasing managers' index (PMI), which surveys around 5,000 firms and is seen as a good growth indicator, jumped to 48.2 from last month's 47.2, smashing expectations for a rise to 47.5.

While the index has now held below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction in all but one of the last 17 months, the data suggests conditions in the bloc are improving.