Survey compiler Markit cautioned against taking the rise as a clear sign the region’s recession has bottomed out, pointing to a surprise decline in German companies that form the backbone of the euro zone economy.
“Previously, we’ve seen Germany expand while other countries have contracted – notably Spain, Italy and France,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
“Now it seems those contractions are being accompanied by a downturn in the largest economy, Germany, and that will no doubt act as a drag on growth.”
There was some respite for French companies, which in March endured their worst month since the depths of the deep recession in 2009, and that helped to support the latest wider euro zone PMI.
Williamson said officials at the European Central Bank, which meets next week to decide monetary policy, may be relieved to see the euro zone PMIs at least did not signal a further deterioration this month.
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