• Eurozone business activity points to solid growth- survey

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    BRUSSELS: Eurozone business activity picked up strongly in November to a 11-month high, with Germany powering the economy in Europe, a closely-watched survey showed Wednesday.

    Data monitoring company IHS Markit said the November figures were encouraging, indicating growth in the 19-nation currency bloc had reached its fastest pace so far this year.

    The fresh data gives “plenty of signs that growth will continue to accelerate,” said IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson said in a statement.

    A sharp increase in orders by companies is “leading to the joint-largest increase in employment seen this side of the global financial crisis,” he said.

    Markit said its preliminary November Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the eurozone jumped to 54.1 points from 53.3 in October.

    The PMI measures companies’ readiness to spend on their business and so gives a good idea of how the underlying economy is performing.

    Any reading above the boom-bust 50 points line indicates the economy is expanding.

    IHS Markit said a strong performance in powerhouse Germany and in France to a lesser extent signalled solid growth after months of doubts over the possible impact of Brexit.

    Williamson said the figures were consistent with growth of 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2016, with Germany expected to gain 0.5 percent.

    “France is also seen to be enjoying its best spell since the start of the year,” he said.

    Overall, policymakers will also “be pleased to see inflationary pressures are intensifying steadily,” which could see the European Central Bank (ECB) ease its contested economic stimulus programme.

    The eurozone economy grew 0.3 percent in the three months to September, the same middling growth as the second quarter.

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