4 May 2012 Last updated at 10:10
The eurozone's private sector contracted sharply in April and by more than initially thought, a survey says.
The Markit eurozone composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 46.7 in April from March's 49.2. Any figure below 50 suggests contraction.
This is the sharpest fall since October last year, and one of the steepest contractions in almost three years.
"Marked declines in new business" and weak manufacturing exports were largely to blame for the falls, Markit said.
Markit said the figures suggested the eurozone economy as a whole contracted at a quarterly rate of 0.5% in April.
Italy saw output from its manufacturing and services sectors hit a three-year low, while Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, slipped "towards stagnation".
New business contracted for the ninth straight month, while emplo
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