Private-sector activity across the 17-nation eurozone shrank at an accelerating pace in March, with the Markit preliminary composite purchasing-managers’ index for the region dropping to a four-month low on Thursday.
The index came in at 46.5 versus a 47.9 reading in February. A level below 50 indicates a contraction in activity.
The eurozone services PMI dropped to a five-month low at 46.5 from 47.9 in February, while the manufacturing PMI fell to a three-month low of 46.6 from 47.9.
“Instead of the eurozone economy stabilizing in the second quarter, as many – including the ECB – have been hoping to see, the downturn could therefore intensify in coming months,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.