Like the ISM’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI), similar indexes compiled by Markit encapsulate key economic trends in Europe. PMI readings for the EU and its largest economies in October continued to hover near 45, a level which suggests that the Continent remains mired in a full-blown recession.
However, the latest PMI releases did include a silver lining: Not only does the underlying data appear to have bottomed, but the October reading represented a slight uptick, albeit from depressed levels.
With recent economic data points surprising to the upside, we wouldn’t be surprised if this upward momentum were to continue into 2013; the current consensus estimate calls for EU gross domestic product to expand in the third quarter of next year, the first time the economy has grown since the fourth quarter of 2011.
The outlook in Europe also received a boost from declining yields on sovereign debt issued by Italy and Spain, two fiscally weak nations that the market has punished for their governments’ profligacy.
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