Business growth in the eurozone eased this month but the bloc’s economy continued to expand at a “robust pace”, a closely watched survey suggests.
The latest Markit eurozone composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dipped to 52.7 from 52.9 in January. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.
Within the bloc, Germany and France continued to see contrasting fortunes.
German companies saw strong growth, but activity among French firms declined for the fourth month in a row.
Earlier on Thursday, a similar survey in China indicated that the country’s manufacturing sector had contracted for the second month in a row.
The preliminary HSBC PMI survey for the sector fell to 48.3 from January’s reading of 49.5. February’s measure was the lowest for seven months, adding to fears about the strength of China’s economy.
The Chinese data hit Asian stock markets, and also sent European markets lower when trading began on Thursday.