Factories across the globe started 2017 on a positive note, maintaining or ramping up activity, in a sign the global manufacturing revival from late last year is carrying on. David Pollard reports.
China - getting back on track ... At least, according to official factory data - which shows activity in December heating up for the sixth straight month. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, HEAD OF RESEARCH, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "China has been working very hard to try to manufacture a slowdown and something of a soft landing. They know what their problems are. They know that in certain areas property prices are getting out of hand, as are some of the lending figures." Along with China's, there are other strong numbers. Japanese manufacturing expanding at its fastest pace in almost three years in January. UK factories also still ramping up - if showing input costs rising at their fastest in decades. Europe far above the 50 level that denotes growth - with its the best performance in nearly six years .... That vindication perhaps of the ECB's massive QE programme - but potentially a snag for it too. Given Germany's continued pulling power. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, HEAD OF RESEARCH, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "Bound by the same monetary policy, all things being equal, this is probably around the time that you would expect interest rates to be rising in somewhere like Germany. But of course that's not going to happen until there's some further improvement from the rest of the euro zone." A prospect now that could be derailed - after new signals from Donald Trump. The US president now accusing Germany, Japan and China of 'living on devaluation' of their currencies. Washington's talk of ending its strong dollar policy already strengthening the euro - the single currency sent soaring above one dollar 08 for the first time since early December.