Eurozone manufacturing PMI hit record high in December and US posts strongest factory growth since 2015, while UK factory growth was ‘solid’Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Ireland factory growth at or close to record highsStock markets weaken as pound and euro riseRussia considering ‘cryptorouble’ – reportCrude oil and copper prices push higher 3.13pm GMT Wall Street has kicked off 2018 on a strong note, while stock markets in London and continental Europe are in the red on the first trading day of the year, dragged down by the strong pound and euro. 2.56pm GMT The upturn at US factories was underpinned by faster increases in output and new orders, with manufacturers’ output growth reaching an 11-month high.Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit said the combination of strengthening growth, a solid labour market and rising prices will add to expectations that the Fed will hike interest rates again soon – as soon as March.With business optimism about the year ahead running at its highest for two years in the closing months of 2017, companies are clearly expecting to be busier in 2018. The upbeat mood is underscored by an increased appetite to hire new staff, with the survey indicating that factory payroll numbers are rising at a rate not seen for over three years. Continue reading…



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