On Markit's PMI league table, Ireland remained at the top in April, as its rate of expansion hit a 38-month high. Growth in the sector also accelerated in Germany, Austria and Italy, with the latter logging a 36-month high. And Greece returned to manufacturing growth in April.
Factory expansion eased in France, Spain and the Netherlands, however. France's April reading slumped to 51.2 from 52.1, although it remained above the break-even level for a second month.
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"The euro zone PMI paints a promising picture for the region's manufacturers at the start of the second quarter," Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a release.
"Regardless of the divergent rates of growth, perhaps the best take-away from the April survey.is the news that all countries recorded PMI readings above the no change level of 50, which highlights how the recovery is becoming more broad-based and therefore hopefully more sustainable, as rising demand from each member state feeds growth in other countries."
David Lea, senior Europe analyst at Control Risks, told CNBC via email: "It's good news that the recovery appears to be settling in with a clear but gentle upward path in PMI. There will be concerns that France isn't keeping pace, and PMI usually moves along time ahead of indicators like unemployment and wages that illustrate a recovery being felt more widely."
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