Eurozone economy picks up steam but outlook 'gloomier'

A closely watched survey shows that the eurozone economy picked up a little bit of steam in May to expand at a three-month high rate.

Financial information firm IHS Markit said Wednesday that its purchasing managers index — a broad gauge of economic activity across manufacturing and services — for the 19-country single currency bloc rose to 51.8 during the month, from 51.5 in April. Anything above 50 indicates an increase in output.

A broader assessment of the survey, which will form part of Thursday's analysis by the European Central Bank's policymaking panel when it sets interest rates, showed the services sector largely behind the growth, with manufacturing lagging. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, also saw growth accelerate.

However, the firm's chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said prospects for the year ahead are "gloomier."