Manufacturing output in the euro zone fell in September, according to the latest data from Markit.
The manufacturing purchasing manager's index (PMI) fell to 51.1 in September, down from 51.4 in August. The figure was in line with an earlier flash estimate and is just above the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction in the sector.
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A breakdown of the figures revealed that while output increased in France, up to 49.8 (a 19-month high) from 49.7 a month before, in Germany output declined in September, falling to 51.1 from 51.8.
Spain and Italy, meanwhile, showed a stabilization of output rather than a recovery.
Despite the apparent decline, the chief economist at Markit said the results, when seasonally adjusted, signaled a modest rate of expansion for the region.
"An improvement in euro zone manufacturing business conditions for a third straight month in September sends a reassuring signal that the sector is providing an all-important lift for a region that has been besieged by recession," Chris Williamson said, although he added that it was too early to get "carried away" by the data.
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"Although signaling the best performance for over two years in recent months, the PMI slipped slightly compared with August and remains only just above the 50 "no change‟ level, indicating that this is still early days in what looks like a fragile recovery."