Eurozone manufacturing PMI increased to 53.4 (flash 53.3) in April from 53 in March.
All the nations covered indicated factory sector growth, which, says Markit "highlights how the recovery is becoming more broad-based."
German growth accelerated, while Irish PMI hit a 38-month high and that of Italy a 36-month high, with exports out of Spain and Italy growing strongly. In contrast, France's export performance was mediocre.
Eurozone flash manufacturing PMI has increased to 53.3 in April from 53 in March and topped consensus that was also 53.
Services has risen to a 34-month high of 53.1 from 52.2 and vs 52.4.
Composite output has climbed to a 35-month high of 54 from 53.1 and vs 53.1.
Manufacturing output has increased to 56.5 from 55.6.
The growth was led by Germany, while France stabilized.
The data indicates that eurozone GDP is on course to rise 0.5% in Q2 following 0.4% growth in Q1.
The bloc experienced a return to job creation, says Markit, suggesting that companies believe "that the recovery has legs and is looking increasingly sustainable." However, Markit warns of "growing fears that deflationary pressures are intensifying."
The euro rises further, having gained a boost from German PMI, and is +0.25% at $1.3839. (PR)
The odds of unsterilized large-scale asset purchases - i.e., LSAPs, i.e., QE - from the ECB have pushed past 50:50 says Citi;s Guillaume Menuet, and the program could begin as early as September.
How? Citi's team expects the ECB to buy both public and private-asset classes, with a majority likely to be things like sovereign bonds. As for size, Citi sees a bare minimum being €1T. This compares to the BoE's £375B program and the Fed's current pace (amid the taper) of $55B per month.
Don't look for action before September, though, says Menuet, as the ECB will likely wait and see if easing at the June meeting begins to do the trick of bringing inflation back up towards its 2% target. Will it work? "While it will likely be on a scale large enough to excite financial markets, we are doubtful it will be on a scale large enough to transform the economic outlook from an extended period of low inflation and low interest rates.”
The continued strengthening of the euro "would require further monetary policy accommodation," ECB President Mario Draghi has said. "That's an important dimension for our price stability."
Draghi's comments came at a meeting of the IMF and after the euro has increased 6% over the past year to $1.3885.
Draghi said that the euro's strength has been an important factor in causing eurozone inflation to drop to 0.5% on year.
CPI is even negative in some parts of the bloc, sparking increasing concerns about deflation and prompting the ECB to discuss unconventional policy such as quantitative easing.
Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann have tried to talk markets out of being overly excited that the eurozone crisis is over. "It's good that markets have become more confident again," said Schaeuble. "But I've said that in parts they're already exaggerating again."
European equities follow Asian shares higher amid expectations that the ECB and China may launch further stimulus, and following positive U.S. economic data yesterday.
"Concerns around the three C's (cold, Crimea, China) are dropping off," says market strategist Evan Lucas, "as the effect of the U.S. winter subsides, the Crimean conflict is no longer affecting markets, and China has seen stimulation bets ramping up.
Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1%, London +0.4%, Paris +0.9%, Frankfurt +1%, Milan +0.6%, Madrid +0.9%.
U.S. stock futures: Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.3%
Eurozone flash manufacturing PMI has slipped to 53 in March from 53.2 in February and missed consensus that was also 53.2.
Services declined to 52.4 from 52.6 and vs 52.6.
Composite output fell to 53.2 from 53.3 and vs 52.6.
Manufacturing output edged up to 55.4 from 55.3.
The eurozone enjoyed its best quarter for business activity since Q2 2011, says Markit, with the PMI survey signalling a 0.5% increase in Q1 GDP after growth of 0.3% in Q4.
However, deflation remains a concern, Markit adds, especially in the periphery. With prices falling again in March, the argument for further stimulus remains, "especially if the rate of growth of activity cools again in April."
German flash manufacturing PMI has dropped to 53.8 in March from 54.8 in February and missed consensus of 54.7.
Services fell to 54 from 55.9 and vs 55.8.
Manufacturing output declined to 57 from 57.4.
Composite output dropped to 55 from 56.4.
Staffing rose for a fifth straight month, although "the increase was largely driven by hiring efforts at service providers," says Markit, "while manufacturing firms only reported a fractional rise in workforce numbers."
Still, the data points to GDP growth of up to 0.7% in Q1, Markit says.
The euro comes back down after jumping a bit following the French PMI and is flat at $1.3795. The DAX is -0.45%. (PR)
French flash manufacturing PMI has climbed to a 33-month high of 51.9 in March from 49.7 in February and topped consensus of 49.8.
Services rose to 51.4 from 47.2 and vs 47.9.
Manufacturing output grew to 52.8 from 50.8.
Composite output increased to 51.6 from 47.9.
"Improving conditions both at home and abroad were reported to have contributed to expansion, although there was further evidence that price discounting had been necessary to support sales," says Markit.
The euro takes a jump and is +0.2% at $1.3822, while the CAC 40 (EWQ) is -0.2%. (PR)
EU negotiators have moved further towards a European banking union by agreeing to create a new "resolution" agency that would oversee the shutdown of failing banks and a €55B fund that would help cover the costs and be paid for by a levy on banks.
However, the ECB would have the primary role in triggering the closure of a bank, which would limit the ability of countries to challenge such a decision.
The fund won't be able to borrow from the eurozone if it runs out of money, which critics say undermines the concept of the proposed union.
The European parliament and EU finance ministers must now approve the deal.
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