The manufacturing sector in the 12-member eurozone grew more quickly than expected in October, with a key purchasing manager index released on Nov. 2 showing activity at a three-month high. The eurozone manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index (PMI), compilied by the research group NTC Economics, rose to 57.0 points in October from 56.6 points in September, marking the sixteenth consecutive month of expansion.

A breakdown of the survey data showed that the sector's output reached a three-month high in October as slower growth in eurozone heavyweight Germany was offset by faster expansion in France, Italy and Spain.

New orders showed modest growth for the second month while backlogs of work increased at a "strong rate," NTC Economics said.

Global Insight economist Howard Archer said: "The eurozone manufacturing PMI indicate impressive expansion and follow buoyant economic sentiment data for October. Indeed, the eurozone economy appears to have started off the fourth quarter with a fair head of steam," he added. "Furthermore, faster orders growth in October and high backlogs of work bode well for manufacturing activity in the next few months at least."

Copyright Agence France Presse, 2006