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Growth across Europe falls to 20-month low
Date 24/06/2011 21:31  Author webmaster  Hits 899  Language Global
24 JUN 2011

By Peter Flanagan

Eurozone economic growth has seen a sharp loss of momentum, with even Germany's powerful industrial sector unable to escape the headwinds damping activity around the world.

Fears for the European economy increased yesterday, after it was revealed that growth across the continent hit the lowest rate since October 2009.

The Markit Flash Eurozone PMI -- a composite index of purchasing managers' indices in the services and construction sectors across the euro area -- dropped sharply in June, from 55.8 to 53.6.

That was the lowest in 20 months. A number over 50 signals growth, under 50 signals contraction. Analysts had been expecting a drop to only 55.2.

The big hit was in manufacturing, with output contracting for the first time since September 2009. The services sector shrank as well, albeit at a much slower pace than manufacturing.

In contrast to the trend since the recession, the rate of manufacturing expansion has fallen further below services since April, Markit said.

Markit chief economist Chris Williamson described the slow down as "worrying".

"The euro area's economic growth surge has lost momentum at a worrying rate in the past two months.

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