Eurozone downturn deepens

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Eurozone downturn deepens

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The downturn across eurozone businesses unexpectedly worsened this month. That dealt a blow to hopes the region might emerge from recession soon.

Surveys of companies’ purchasing managers showed a deepening divide between the strong and weak economies, even among the biggest as French firms suffered their worst month in four years in stark contrast to prospering Germany:

Rob Dobson, senior economist with Markit, which carried out the surveys, said: “In a lot of these countries the domestic market is still very, very weak. Whereas we’re seeing some of the growth more in places like Germany, where they’re having a bit of a boost from export orders and the domestic market not being as weak as elsewhere.”

Markit’s questionnaires send to thousands of companies found them very much at odds with the recent upbeat mood on financial markets and improving investor confidence, which suggests the real economy is failing to improve.

Markit said the survey responses point to the eurozone economy shrinking 0.2-0.3 percent in the first three months of 2013.