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Euro zone business activity rises beyond expectations

Business activity in the euro zone continued to rise in January, beating expectations.

Markit's flash composite purchasing manager's index (PMI) for the 18-nation bloc rose to 53.2 in January, up from 52.1 in December. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a figure of 52.4.

Breaking down the figures, activity in Germany's manufacturing and services sectors continued to grow in January but the decline continued in the euro zone's second largest economy, France, albeit at a slower rate.

German flash composite purchasing manager's index (PMI) rose to 55.9 in January, up from December's final figures of 55.0, according to preliminary data released by Markit on Wednesday.

The 50-point mark separates expansion in business activity from contraction and while German business activity rose at its sharpest rate in over two-and-a-half years, France languished in contraction territory.

Bruno De Hogues | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

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