The industrial activity of the euro area increased at a faster pace in March. This was shown on Thursday by definitive figures from Markit Economics. The industry index rose from 57.9 to 62.5 in March, the highest point in almost 24 years. A preliminary measurement for March indicated 62.4.
Industrial activity in Germany increased significantly in March. This was shown on Thursday by definitive figures. The industry index rose from 60.7 in February to 66.6 in March, the highest point ever.
German retail sales increased in February, but less than expected. This was shown on Thursday by figures from the German statistical office Destatis.
On a monthly basis, sales increased by 1.2 percent in February, adjusted for inflation. This is less than the 2.0 percent increase expected by economists. However, on an annual basis, retail sales fell by 9.0 per cent in February, also adjusted for inflation and seasonal effects. Compared to February last year, just before the corona outbreak, sales were 5.4 percent lower.
The United Kingdom’s industrial activity increased in March. The industry index rose from 55.1 in February to 58.9 in March, the highest point since February 2011. A provisional figure for March indicated an index of 57.9.
Industrial activity in France increased at a higher rate in March. The industry index rose from 56.1 to 59.3 in March. According to Markit, the index thus indicates the fastest improvement in the sector since September 2000.
Industrial activity in Italy increased faster in March. The industry index rose from 56.9 to 59.8 in March. The forecast was 59.7.
Industrial activity in Spain increased in March. The industry index rose from 52.9 in February to 56.9 in March, the highest point since the end of 2006.
Industrial activity in the Netherlands has increased in March to its highest point since February 2018. The Purchasing Managers Index for the industry rose from 59.6 to 64.7 in March.
“New orders at home and abroad have never increased so quickly, despite the hard lockdowns”, economist Albert Jan Swart of ABN AMRO said in an explanation.
However, the rapid growth, probably stemming from optimism about economic recovery later this year, also has negative effects, warned Swart. “The delivery times of parts and materials have never increased so quickly.”