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Euro-zone Numbers *PIC*

Euro-zone jobless rate rises to 10.7% in January (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- The unemployment rate in the 17-nation euro zone rose to 10.7% in January from an upwardly revised 10.6% in December, the European Union statistics agency Eurostat reported Thursday, the highest level since the introduction of the shared currency in 1999. Eurostat had previously pegged the December jobless rate at 10.4%. Eurostat estimated that the number of unemployed in the euro zone rose by 185,000 in January to 16.925 million.

Euro-zone Feb. annual CPI seen rising to 2.7% (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Consumer prices across the 17-nation euro zone grew at a 2.7% annual rate in February, edging up from 2.6% the previous month, the European Union statistics agency Eurostat said Thursday in a preliminary estimate. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 2.6% reading. Inflation remains above the European Central Banks target of near but just below 2%.

U.K. Feb. manufacturing expands at slower pace (by Sara Sjolin)

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Activity across the British manufacturing sector continued to grow in February, but at a slower pace, according to a survey of purchasing managers released Thursday. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers index for the sector fell to 51.2 February, down slightly from January's eight-month high of 52.0. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a February reading of 52.1. "The manufacturing sector consolidated on January's sharp increase in growth, but the return of rising oil prices and lackluster demand is a cause of some trepidation," said David Noble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply.

Euro-zone Feb. manufacturing PMI edges up to 49.0 (by William L. Watts)

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Activity in the euro-zone manufacturing sector shrank at a slower pace in February, the Markit purchasing managers index for the sector confirmed Thursday. The index rose to 49.0 from 48.8 in January, unchanged from a preliminary estimate. A figure of less than 50 indicates a contraction in activity. National data showed manufacturing activity expanded modestly in Austria, the Netherlands and Germany. France's PMI rose to a seven-month high at the no-change mark of 50.0, while Ireland and Italy remained in contraction territory but saw PMIs rise. Spain's PMI fell to a two-month low at 45.0, while Greece posted a record-low reading of 37.7 for the manufacturing sector.