Euro zone business activity at three-year high

Business activity in the euro zone hit a three-year high as new orders and backlogs of work are rising and employment has returned to growth, new data showed on Tuesday.

Markit's final euro zone purchasing managers composite index came in at 54.0 in April, unchanged from the flash estimate, but up from 53.1 the previous month.

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Paris, France
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Paris, France

The figure signaled expansion for the 10th successive month and marked the highest level seen since May 2011.

Growth in both manufacturing and services sectors was fastest in Ireland and Spain during April, reaching eight- and seven-year highs respectively.

Germany and Italy also saw sharper expansions in activity and new orders, while France was the only nation to buck this trend, treading water with near stagnant output growth and a slight drop in new business.

Eurozone employment ticked higher for the second time in the past three months in April, with the rate of expansion modest, but nonetheless the sharpest registered in over two-and-half years.