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Euro zone on the up, but 'issues' remain

Wednesday, August 05, 2015 - 01:39

Growth among euro zone service businesses, which dominate economies across the continent, eased last month. As David Pollard reports, surveys showed firms worried about Greece's flirtation with bankruptcy.

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Spain's been the rising star of the euro zone recently - its strong data surprising many. The latest PMI survey shows its service sector hiring at the fastest rate in eight years. But if the sense of economic risk is subsiding, its political risk isn't. Catalonian president Artur Mas has brought forward regional elections to September - they're seen as proxy vote on taking the region out of Spain. That's anaethema to prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH PRIME MINISTER, MARIANO RAJOY, SAYING: "Nobody is going to turn citizens of Catalonia into foreigners in their own country, which is what some people are attempting to do." Elsewhere the worry's a familiar one. Germany's July PMI reading shows a robust 27th month above the 50 level that denotes growth. The euro zone as a whole also well above that level - but easing back from a four-year high on residual fears over Greece's close shaves with bankruptcy. Another concern: firms across the bloc continued to cut prices as they have every month since early 2012. For Mint Partners market strategist, Bill Blain, two issues on a long euro zone list. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BILL BLAIN, MARKET STRATEGIST, MINT PARTNERS, SAYING: ''What will the effect of Spanish elections, what do we need to worry about in terms of French elections - two political themes that are worth thinking about - and also what happens now that the euro is no longer sliding as dramatically as it was? When is that going to impact the limited recovery that we've seen?'' A low euro has made euro zone exports attractive. At the same time, a growing consensus of corporate chiefs see the bloc as a bright spot in a still lacklustre global environment. But ECB chief Mario Draghi has already fired his big policy gun: quantitative easing. And is seen as having little ammo left should he need it.

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Euro zone on the up, but 'issues' remain

Wednesday, August 05, 2015 - 01:39