ROME Jan 2 Italian manufacturing activity grew in December at its fastest rate since June, a survey showed on Monday, signaling an acceleration in economic growth at the end of the year.
The Markit/ADACI Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 53.2 in December from 52.2 in November, above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
The PMI also showed that manufacturing orders and output both increased to their highest levels since June. The sub-index for new orders rose to 54.7 from 53.2 in November, driven by orders from abroad.
The positive PMI is welcome news for Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who took over leadership of the euro zone's most chronically sluggish economy in December.
The government forecasts 0.8 percent growth last year, less than half of what is forecast for the German economy. But growth rebounded in the third quarter, rising 0.3 percent from the previous three months, compared with a 0.1 percent increase in
the second quarter.
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(Reporting by Steve Scherer, editing by Larry King)