Thursday, February 21 08:40:30
German private sector activity increased for a third straight month in February, a survey showed today, adding to signs that Europe's largest economy is rebounding after shrinking in the fourth quarter.
Markit's flash composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) measuring growth in both manufacturing and services, which combined account for more than two-thirds of the German economy, stood at 52.7.
That was down from January's 54.4 but still above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
"The early snapshot of February PMI data highlights that Germany remains on track for a return to gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the first quarter of 2013," said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.
"Despite the slight loss of momentum since January, the survey suggests that Germany can still be relied upon as an engine of growth for the euro zone."
The preliminary figures also showed the manufacturing sector expanded for the first time in a year this month, with the sector index edging up to 50.1 from 49.8 in January, although that was below a Reuters consensus forecast for 50.5.
Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said the positive PMI surveys for January and February pointed to a 0.4 percent increase in Germany's first-quarter gross domestic product.
Germany's economy put in a strong performance in 2010 and 2011 despite the euro zone crisis engulfing many of its euro zone peers, but growth slowed last year and economic output even shrank by 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter.
Recent data has shown the German economy is picking up after it shrank 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, with investor morale rising to its highest in nearly three years, exports, orders and output rising, and unemployment falling. ( C) Reuters