The Eurozone enjoyed a pick-up in manufacturing towards the end of 2010, a survey has revealed.
The Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) recorded a level of 57.1 for December - a reading above 50 indicates growth - up from an earlier estimate of 56.8 and above November's 55.3.
The strongest growth was recorded in Germany, but Greece's manufacturing sector continued to shrink, according to the PMI.
The figures offer rare cheer to the Eurozone, which has been mired by ongoing concerns over the sovereign debt crisis.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said: "Manufacturing output growth gathered pace again in December, putting the sector on a strong footing to start the new year."
He went on: "Germany remained the star performer, seeing near-record growth, followed by France, where the PMI slipped only slightly from November's 10-year peak.
"However, welcome signs of recoveries were also evident in the periphery, where export sales helped boost output growth in all cases except Greece, where the rate of decline at least moderated.
"The data therefore suggest that the manufacturing recovery may be broadening out to help lift economic growth outside of the French-German core in early 2011."
In Germany, the PMI index rose to 60.7 in December and the employment index rose to a record level of 57.1.
The Eurozone fell heavily under scrutiny last month when Ireland followed in the footsteps of Greece and was forced to accept a multi-billion pound bailout from the EU and IMF.
Economists feared the debt crisis would spread to other Eurozone economies, including Portugal and even Spain.