A January surge from economic powerhouse Germany today fuelled hopes that the
eurozone could pull out of its double-dip recession early this year.
The country's private sector saw its strongest growth for a year as services firms roared ahead and manufacturers returned to growth, according to financial data provider Markit's latest health check on the eurozone economy. This contrasts with a disastrous month for nearest rival France, whose private sector had its worst month since the aftermath of the financial crisis in March 2009.
Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said: "A return to growth looks to be on the cards during the first half of 2013."
But there was worse news from Spain today as its unemployment rate -- driven up by prime minister Mariano Rajoy's austerity programme -- hit 26 percent.
This is the highest since at least 1976 -- the year after the death of dictator General Franco.
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