Markit: Greek Purchasing Managers’ Index grew to 56.1 points in February

The Greek manufacturing sector continued growing in February with new orders, production and purchasing activity recording high growth rates, comparable to those before the global economic crisis, Markit said on Thursday.

In a monthly report on the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), Markit said business confidence was the strongest recorded in the last 5.5 years and noted that these trends encouraged companies to hire more workers at a faster rate.

The index rose to 56.1 points in February, from 55.2 in January, the highest level since June 2000. The index remained on a growth course for the ninth successive month, the longest period of growth since the economic crisis began.

Producers of consumer and intermediate goods recorded the highest growth rates, while the growth rate of investment goods was comparatively subdued.

New orders grew at the fastest rate since October 2007, both from foreign and domestic markets, with new export orders rising for the fifth consecutive month.

Greek manufacturing companies raised their workforce at the fastest rate since May 1999, when data collection began, while pending works rose for the second successive month in February. Greek manufacturers raised their purchasing activity for the eighth month in a row and contributed to the second increase in inventories in a period of 9.5 years. Inventories of ready-made products continued falling, while inflow price increases remained strong as a result of higher raw materials’ prices, leading to the second successive increase of average selling prices.

Business optimism improved for the third successive month to a new record high in February. Positive economic outlook was linked with investment spending and political and social stability.

The PMI is a composite index measuring business activity in the manufacturing sector. Readings above 50 indicate a growing sector wihile readings below 50 a shrinking sector.