Economic Buzz: Eurozone Private Sector Growth Continues To Rise In February

Source IHS Markit

However, in both cases the PMI readings remained at levels indicative of strong growth, close to recent seven-year highs. Meanwhile, employment growth accelerated to a 11-year high.

"All in all, with the euro zone economy continuing to perform strongly and signs of a little inflationary pressure, we expect the European Central Bank to signal in the coming weeks that its asset purchase program will end this year".

Chris Williamson, IHS Markit's chief business economist, thinks the region could be headed for quarterly growth of 0.9 percent in the first three months of the year, which would equate to annualized growth - the preferred measure in the United States - not far short of 4 percent.

The dip in business activity did little to suppress optimism in the year ahead, however, as the expectations index ticked higher for a third-successive month to reach the joint highest level recorded in the survey.

"The PMI indicates that the business outlook for the coming months has actually improved, it seems that the return of volatile markets has not had much effect on business confidence so far", said Bert Colijn at ING.

Business growth in the eurozone slowed more than expected this month, according to data released on Wednesday, although it remains firm overall.

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Markit says that "the slower growth of business activity reflected an easing in the rate of increase of new orders which, while elevated, slipped to a five-month low".

A PMI covering the bloc's dominant service industry matched the lowest forecast in a Reuters poll.

Germany's score for services also fell to a three-month low to 55.3, down from 57.3 in January.

Flash Eurozone growth has pulled back in February as the four major indices fell from almost one-year high seen in the preceding month, IHS Markit release revealed.

Joe Hayes, an economist at IHS Markit, said that a number of panellists indicated that the stronger currency had prompted them to lower prices to overseas customers.

The composite output index dropped unexpectedly to a 3-month low of 57.4 from 59.0 in January.

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