By Daniel Hunter

Business activity in the eurozone rose to a seven-month high in February, according to a closely watched survey.

The Markit composite flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 53.5 in February, up from 52.6 in January. Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

The survey also found that businesses are hiring new staff at the fastest rate since August 2011.

It comes as lower oil prices have cut input costs across Europe.

"Undeterred by the ongoing Greek debt crisis, economic growth is gathering momentum and looks set to gain further traction in coming months," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

France, the eurozone's second largest economy saw the first rise in business activity since April 2014, and was at its fastest since August 2011.

The eurozone's largest economy, Germany, saw growth in the services sector cancelled out by a slowdown in manufacturing.