Eurozone factory activity increases in October

Eurozone manufacturing activity accelerated in October as new orders continued to increase. The result means that October was the fourth month of growth in a row.

Reuters reports that the final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for October increased to 51.3. This compares to the September figure of 51.1.

A reading over 50 represents expansion, while a reading under 50 represents a contraction of economic activity.

The result is in accordance with an earlier flash reading and with the consensus forecast of economists. 

The result can be attributed to modest strength in Germany and other northern economies. In contrast, there was a continued weakness in many of the bloc's southern economies. 

The figures suggest that the divide between the strong northern European economies and those in the South, which have been at the centre of the eurozone's debt crisis, is still a significant problem. 

The best performing nations were the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and Ireland.

There was little change to existing growth rates in Italy and Spain, while France and Greece recorded negative results.

"The survey indicates a marked turnaround in the health of the manufacturing economy," said Markit's chief economist Chris Williamson of Monday's manufacturing results. "However, while the recovery goes on, it is by all measures frustratingly slow." 

The result comes as global activity in the sector is also on the increase. Global manufacturing activity in October increased at its fastest pace in more than two years.