By Gokhan Ergocun
ANKARA (AA) - The Eurozone (EA19) Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector dropped slightly in January to 59.6, from 60.6 in December -- its best level since the survey began in mid-1997 -- according to IHS Markit's report on Thursday.
The Eurozone Manufacturing PMI by London-based global data company IHS Markit posted a three-month low of 59.6 in January, said the report.
The report stated that sector data signaled solid growth across the consumer, intermediate and investment goods categories.
The Netherlands PMI -- 62.5 -- was at the top of the eurozone rankings, while the Greek PMI was at the bottom with 55.2, the report showed.
"The robust improvement in eurozone manufacturing operating conditions signaled by continued strong expansions of both production and new orders had a positive impact on business confidence," stressed the report.
The report said that in January, eurozone manufacturing employment rose for the 41st month in a row.
Employment showed one of the largest gains ever recorded by the survey, said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
In December the eurozone's unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, down from 9.7 percent in the same month of 2016 -- the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since January 2009.
The report also underlined that purchasing costs rose in January to the greatest extent in over six-and-a-half years, reflecting higher commodity prices -- including oil -- and greater pricing power at vendors.
Williamson said: "The hike in prices associated with the further shift to a sellers’ market for many goods was accompanied by a steep rise in oil prices during the month, resulting in a further intensification of cost pressures."
"With higher costs being increasingly passed on to customers, the survey sends a warning signal for a potential rise in future consumer price inflation," he added.
In December consumer prices in the European Union rose 1.7 percent on a yearly basis.