Eurozone PMI confirms business slump

CNC report from LONDON
Added On March 6, 2013

France, Spain and Italy dragged the euro zone into a deeper downturn in February.

Business surveys show the chasm between these countries and prosperous Germany widening yet again.

Private business activity in the eurozone in February was not as bad as first feared but still showed the economic slump deepening.

Published by London-based Markit, the Purchasing Managers' Composite Index, a broad gauge of activity at thousands of companies across the 17-nation bloc, stood at a revised 47.9 in February.

The figure is up from the initial reading of 47.3, but still well down from 48.6 in January and further away from the boom-bust line of 50.

The PMI for Germany came in at 53.3 while France was on 43.1 in February.

Britain's services PMI, which accounts for the bulk of its economy, hit a five month-high of 51.8 last month from 51.5 in January, beating the median forecast of 51.0 in a Reuters poll.

The PMIs reflect how euro zone businesses were faring mostly before the inconclusive outcome of Italy's general election, which unsettled international financial markets.

Eurozone retail sales for January, showing a 1.2 percent rise, were much better than expected, although economists caution that the underlying picture is still very weak.