Eurozone factory orders rose for a fifth consecutive month in November, with activity accelerating at its fastest pace for more than two years, according to a survey.
France was the only country out of the 17 that use the euro to report faster declines in both output and new orders.
The Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 51.6 in November, up from 51.3 in October.
Any reading of above 50 suggests expansion.
Markit cautioned that the rate of growth was still “modest”, with the most promising recovery signs confined to northern eurozone countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.
“There’s still a lot to worry about in terms of the health of the eurozone economy,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
Mr Williamson said France was “a big concern”, and noted that employment in manufacturing across the eurozone was continuing to fall.
“Any substantial improvement to the region’s record unemployment situation still seems frustratingly far off,” Mr Williamson added.
France’s PMI plummeted to a five-month low of 48.4 from 49.1, marking its 21st month of contraction.
Spain’s manufacturing activity also shrank in November, despite expanding for the previous three months.
In Greece, which has been in recession for six years, manufacturing activity continued to shrink, but at the slowest pace since 2009.
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