Eurozone Economic Activity Slows in October

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Business activity in the eurozone’s private sector grew at a slower pace in October, according to data firm Markit. Its flash Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) came in at 51.5 for the month, down from 52.2 in September. That was also less than the 52.4 expected by analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal.

The good news was that the figure remained above 50, the dividing line between increasing and declining activity, for the fourth month in a row.

“The dip in the PMI in October is clearly disappointing, but it would be unwise to read too much into one month’s data,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. “It’s too early to say that the recovery is losing momentum.” 24/7 Wall St. pointed out Wednesday that there are skeptics who believe that Europe has not really come out of recession.

Markit said the eurozone services sector PMI declined to 50.9 from 52.2 in September. However, the flash PMI for manufacturing rose to 51.3 from 51.1.

In France, private-sector output barely grew in October, with PMI at 50.1, compared to 50.5 in the previous month. Private sector economic activity in Germany grew at the slowest pace in three months, with PMI at 52.6 for October. That was down from 53.2 in September.

Williamson also said:

The dip in the PMI will remind policymakers that a sustainable upturn is by no means assured, and adds confirmation to the ECB’s view that the recovery is slow, uneven and fragile. Attention is likely to be focused on whether the region requires more policy action to boost the recovery rather than on the timing of any withdrawal of stimulus.

See the full Markit release for eurozone flash PMI here.