Eurozone Manufacturing Activity Picks Up

Economist says eurozone is still heading for recession

Manufacturing activity in the 15 countries sharing the euro picked up slightly in August, snapping a recent steady decline in the figures, according to a survey published Sept. 1.

The eurozone's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector, compiled by data and research group Markit, edged up to 47.6 points in August from 47.4 points in July.

Despite the slight improvement, activity overall remained negative for a third month running, coming in below the boom or bust line of 50 points.

In July, the survey found that manufacturing activity had slumped to the lowest level in five years as the sector struggles with weak demand, a strong euro and record oil and other raw material prices.

Economist Howard Archer at consultants Global Insight said that although the survey "shows that activity improved modestly compared to July, it nevertheless is still a very weak report that does little to alleviate the serious concerns that the eurozone is heading for recession."

The eurozone economy contracted in the second quarter for the first time since the bloc was formed in 1999 and a steady stream of negative indicators in recent months have fuelled recession fears.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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