The eurozone economy deteriorated markedly in April, according to the latest business surveys.
The services sector shrivelled at a much faster rate last month than initially thought.
Markit, the company that compiles the data from surveying purchasing managers at companies, said we are looking at a 0.5 percent contraction in the eurozone economy in the quarter with the recession extending through to the middle of the year.
“Little can be said to remain of any ‘core’ of strength in the region,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
“Growth has practically ground to a halt even in Germany, and France has joined Italy and Spain in seeing a strong rate of economic decline.”
Following the European Central Bank’s policy meeting on Thursday, President Mario Draghi spoke of a gradual economic recovery taking place in the euro zone during the course of the year, although he did speak about risks.
The PMI surveys, however, have a much better record of tracking economic growth than the forecasts of ECB policymakers.