Mar 1 - Euro zone manufacturing activity appeared no closer to recovery last month, when a dire performance in France offset a return to growth in Germany, business surveys showed. Ciara Sutton reports.
47.9 is today's daily digit in Europe. It's the key figure in Markit's latest survey of euro zone manufacturing. It's again below the 50 level that signifies growth, and it's been like that for over a year and a half. Poor manufacturing activity in France offset a return to growth in Germany. The euro zone's second-biggest economy has now been contracting for a year. Michael Ingram is markets commentator at BGC. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARKETS COMMENTATOR, MICHAEL INGRAM BGC, SAYING: "It's not just about north and south, it's not just about core countries and the "whacky" periphery anymore. It's some of the countries at the very core of the euro zone which seem to be doing rather badly." Results from Spain and Italy are equally grim. Ireland and Germany were the only countries to show growth. POSS SOT HERE MAYBE Three years of crisis have driven most of the main euro zone economies into recession. There's now mounting speculation the ECB will have to step in and buy bonds from struggling members to cut borrowing costs and attempt to boost that all important growth.