Economic Slowdown Continues in the Eurozone

Despite the European Central Bank's aggressive new bond-buying plan, private-sector activity across the eurozone contracted at its fastest pace since June 2009, according to the preliminary September Markit composite purchasing managers index released today.

The flash index fell to 45.9 from 46.3 in August, despite forecasts for a rise to 46.7. Services drove the contraction, with the PMI for that sector falling to a 38-month low of 46.0 from 47.2 in August. The manufacturing PMI rose to 46.0, its highest level in six months, from 45.1 in August.

A reading below 50 indicates contracting activity.

The flash Germany Composite Output Index at rose to a 5-month high of 49.7 from 47.0 in August. The services index came in at 50.6, up from 48.3 in August, and the Manufacturing PMI reading was 47.3, up from 44.7 in August, and a 6-month high.

But the flash France Composite Output Index fell to 44.1 from 48.0 in August. That was a 41-month low. The services index dropped to 46.1 from 49.2 in August, and the Manufacturing PMI reading was 42.6, down from 46.0 in August.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit said:

Some good news came from an easing in the rate of contraction in Germany, though the rate of decline accelerated markedly in France and a deepening downturn was also evident in the periphery. It remains too early to say, however, whether Germany will continue to buck the trend, especially as it continued to see a strong rate of loss of new orders in both manufacturing and services.

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