Optimism on European, Chinese and UK Manufacturing

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Euro-area services and manufacturing output fell less than forecast in December, giving hope to a quicker recovery from the debt crisis that is weakening several countries.

An index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries rose to 47.3 from 46.5 in November, London-based Markit Economics said today, whereas economists had forecast a November reading of 46.9. In particular the euro-area services index increased to 47.8 in December from 46.7 in November and the manufacturing gauge rose to 46.3 from 46.2.

Another report said that in China manufacturing could expand at a faster pace this month, with the Asian country providing a catalyst for equity markets in 2013.

In response to European and Chinese manufacturing growth, most European stocks rose, with the benchmark heading for a fourth weekly gain. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index (SXXP) advanced less than 0.1 percent to 279.75 at 9:37 a.m. in London, as two shares rose for each that fell. The measure has rallied 20 percent since this year’s low on June 4 as the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve expanded asset purchases.

In the UK, according to the Confederation of British Industry, a factory index rose in December and the outlook at companies for the next three months improves. A gauge of manufacturing orders increased to minus 12 from minus 21 in November and a measure of manufacturers’ output expectations for the next three months rose to zero from minus 9.

“December’s survey reports a welcome improvement in manufacturers’ order books and their expectations for output” said Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Analysis “Even so, they remain hesitant in predicting further output growth and are keeping stock levels low. Conditions in the sector and the wider economy are likely to remain fragile until global conditions improve over the course of 2013,” she concluded.


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