BUSINESS

Greek factory activity grows again in April, survey shows

Greek factory activity expanded again in April thanks to the first rise in employment in six years and faster increases in output and new orders, a survey showed on Friday.

Manufacturing activity has veered between contraction and growth since it logged its first month of expansion since mid-2009 in January.

Markit's purchasing managers' index for manufacturing, which accounts for about 10 percent of the Greek economy, rose to 51.1 in April from 49.7 in March, climbing back above the 50 line dividing growth from contraction.

"Faster growth in output and new orders helped bump the PMI back above the 50.0 threshold, but the return to growth in employment was the real highlight from April’s survey,» Markit economist Phil Smith said.

"It represented a show of confidence among manufacturers that the recovery in the sector is now more embedded."

Greece, which has been kept afloat by two multi-billion euro bailouts by the EU and IMF since 2010, has been stuck in a six-year slump that has reduced gross domestic product by about a quarter and driven unemployment to record highs.

Growth in new orders was slightly faster than the previous month, mainly in the consumer goods sector, the survey found.

Output also grew in the second-sharpest ruse in the past 67 months behind February's high.

Still, the survey found the net rise in staffing numbers was only slight and mainly attributed to increased production needs.

[Reuters]

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