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Eurozone factories sank deeper into recession in December as new orders tumbled.
Surveys of the region’s businesses showed economic decline spread further into the core members of the bloc.
Germany’s crucial manufacturing sector shrank for the 10th straight month and at a faster pace.
French data has declined in all but one of the past 17 months.
Ireland was the only member of the currency union to register growth in December.
British factory activity however unexpectedly jumped.
It grew at its fastest pace since September 2011, raising the chance that the UK economy eked out some growth at the end of 2012.
“The eurozone manufacturing sector remained entrenched in a steep downturn at the end of the year. The region’s recession therefore looks likely to have deepened, possibly quite significantly, in the final quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, which carried out the surveys.
“Manufacturers look to be in for another tough year in 2013, though prospects have brightened a little, as producers should benefit from signs of stronger demand in key export markets such as the United States and China,” Williamson said.