- Manufacturing activity in Spain expanded at the fastest pace since April 2010 in March, easing concerns over the economic outlook of the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy, data showed on Tuesday.

In a report, market research group Markit said that its Spanish manufacturing purchasing managers’ index increased to a seasonally adjusted 52.8 last month from a reading of 52.5 in February. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 52.4 in March.

A reading above 50.0 on the index indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.

Commenting on the report, Andrew Harker, Senior Economist at Markit said, “Sharper rises in both new and existing orders suggest that further growth of output is likely in the near-term.”

He added that, “Input prices decreased for the second time in the past three months, highlighting a continued lack of inflationary pressure.”

Following the release of the data, the euro was modestly higher against the U.S. dollar, with EUR/USD easing up 0.15% to trade at 1.3791.

Meanwhile, European stock markets were higher after the open. Spain’s IBEX 35 rose 0.4%, the Euro Stoxx 50 inched up 0.15%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.3%, London’s FTSE 100 increased 0.25%, while Germany''s DAX climbed 0.3%.

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