Rivers of Hope

  • Moulders work at an iron foundry at the Tekhnolit Polotsk plant in Polotsk, about 220 km (137 miles) northeast of Minsk, February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

    View PhotoReuters/Reuters – Moulders work at an iron foundry at the Tekhnolit Polotsk plant in Polotsk, about 220 km (137 miles) northeast of Minsk, February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) – European manufacturing appeared no closer to recovery last month while growth in Asia cooled, according to business surveys and trade data on Friday that pointed to ongoing weakness in global demand.

Purchasing managers’ reports from the United States due later, however, are expected to show growth picking up in the world’s largest economy, after a weak fourth quarter.

In China, factory growth slowed to multi-month lows. Sluggish domestic demand added pressure to already depressed foreign sales, two separate purchasing manager indexes (PMI) showed.

Worryingly for European Central Bank policymakers balancing the needs of 17 different economies, euro zone reports painted a picture of ongoing divergence, with a dire performance in France offsetting a return to growth…

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