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European Economy: A Bilateral Trade Agreement and Manufacturer Investments, Despite February Stock Numbers

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According to a recent report by Forbes, “The United States and European Union are negotiating what would be the world’s largest bilateral trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).”

“A key objective on both sides of the Atlantic is to eliminate duplicative or contradictory regulations and align differing standards in order to simplify business transactions and create new opportunities for commerce,” Forbes notes.The news comes as the latest numbers show European stocks newly increased after a slight decline in February. Analysts believe much of the stock growth is related to the rise in U.S. manufacturing as well as European unemployment rates.

The European unemployment rate is currently 11.9 percent, as of February.

Bloomberg reports, “Growth in euro-area manufacturing activity stayed close to the highest level in almost three years in March, according to data released today. An index based on a survey of purchasing managers slipped to 53.0 from 53.2 February.”

Automobiles remain one of Europe’s top exports, and Germany, one of the European Union’s top industrial economies received a boost in February as well.

Data compiled by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research on more than 3,000 manufacturing firms showed, “just over half expected to increase their output this year – more than the 42 percent who said that in autumn. Manufacturers of investment goods and machines were particularly optimistic.” (Via Reuters UK).

Similar expansions and investments are taking place throughout the European Union.

Although the March numbers for the United Kingdom were slightly lower than expected, British investors have announced plans to revitalize the manufacturing industry.

The Guardian points to a recent survey in which, “More than 85 percent of companies confirmed they were planning to spend on capital equipment (Capex) over the next 12 months, with an average spend of £121,000 per manufacturer.”

Economists will likely pay attention to the impending bilateral trade agreement, as well as manufacturers’ investments, and how both will affect the European job market.

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