Czech manufacturing activity contracted in February at the slowest pace since last March and sentiment for the year ahead picked up, a survey showed on Friday. The S&P Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the Czech Republic rose to 44.3 from 43.0 in January, its highest reading in almost a year.

The index, however, remained below 50, which marks growth, extending a downturn in activity that began in mid-2022. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of 42.9. Output continued to contract, the survey said, with a further decline in orders weighing. Demand was weak both at home and abroad, firms reported in the survey, and they continued to cut jobs, purchases and stocks.

However, manufacturers surveyed signalled rising expectations for the year ahead. Month/Year 02/24 01/24 02/23 Purchasing Managers' Index 44.3 43.0 44.3 Output 45.6 41.7 44.0 ** To monitor in real-time Czech economic data releases in the Eikon app and view historical data click: reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/Economic-Monitor?g=2E (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Susan Fenton)