Euro zone businesses started the second quarter with healthy growth as a buoyant order book again encouraged them to hire more, a survey showed on Wednesday.
China's factories suffered their fastest drop in activity in a year in April as new orders shrank, a private business survey showed on Monday, hardening the case for fresh stimulus measures to halt a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
European shares rose on Monday, led higher by Germany after upbeat factory activity, while the dollar steadied following signs the U.S. economy may be emerging from a recent soft patch.
Manufacturing activity growth remained sluggish in some of the world's major economies in April, suggesting that global economic growth remains "moderate and uneven," as the International Monetary Fund described it in its World Economic Outlook in April.
China's factories stayed stuck in the slow lane in April while Japanese output went into reverse and South Korea suffered its worst export performance in two years, adding urgency to calls for more state stimulus in all three economies.
Japanese manufacturing activity contracted in April for the first time in almost a year as domestic orders and output fell, which could fuel concerns that the country's modest economic recovery is losing momentum.
Asian shares weathered a soft reading on Chinese manufacturing on Thursday as it only whetted expectations for more policy stimulus there, while a sharp rise in British and German bond yields rippled through global debt markets.
Eight years ago, Pascal Lighting employed about 2,000 workers on a leafy campus in southern China. Today, the Taiwanese light manufacturer has winnowed its workforce to just 200 and leased most of its space to other companies: lamp workshops, a mobile phone maker, a logistics group, a liquor brand.
Price discounting drove growth in all of the euro zone's major economies in March, helping business activity increase at its fastest rate for nearly a year, a survey showed on Tuesday.
U.S. Treasuries prices rallied, the U.S. dollar fell and stock index futures fell on Friday after weaker-than-expected March U.S. jobs data.
Companies struggled in China and much of the rest of Asia in March, suggesting central banks may have to resort to more stimulus, just as factories in the euro zone begin to reap rewards from ultra-easy policy there.
European stock markets made solid starts to the second quarter on Wednesday as data pointing to a gradual recovery in the euro zone economy gave investors fresh impetus after their blowout first few months of the year.
Euro zone businesses ramped up activity this month, just as the European Central Bank starts printing money to spur growth and inflation, while a slowdown among Chinese factories has fueled calls for more stimulus there.
Global equities pulled back from recent record highs on Wednesday, with investors turning cautious after underwhelming euro zone PMI data and ahead of central bank meetings.
Global stimulus is swelling, with China cutting interest rates ahead of disappointing factory data and the European Central Bank set to start government bond purchases just as data hints the euro zone economy may be picking up.