Factories across the euro zone rounded off the first half of 2017 by ramping up activity at the fastest rate for over six years as rising prices failed to put a dent in orders, a survey showed on Monday. Ciara Lee reports.
Ramping up activity at the fastest rate in over six years. That's how factories across the euro zone rounded off the first half of 2017. IHS Markit's Manufacturing Index for June had the highest reading since April 2011 and comfortably above the level that separates growth from contraction. Suggesting the momentum will continue into the second half of the year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CITY INDEX, MARKET ANALYST, KEN ODELUGA, SAYING: "There is no doubt that we are seeing a real, genuine return to strength in the euro zone economy which has got strong underpinnings. And those strong underpinnings were put in place over years and years, and certainly in the last eighteen months of cheap borrowing costs, which have enabled the corporate sector in the region, broadly speaking, to get back on its feet." Greek manufacturing activity expanded in June for the first time in nine months leading firms to add jobs at the fastest pace since July 2016 And Spain's factories also continued to expand with job creation holding near-record highs. German manufacturing reached its highest level in more than six years, driven by a sharp increase in orders. The index accounts for around a fifth of Germany's economy. Europe's success is something of a kick in the teeth for Britain as it sets its sights on becoming an export-led force outside the EU. The export orders gauge for the UK slid to a five-month low in June.