Economic activity in the eurozone slowed for the second straight month in February, as modest recovery in the 19-nation bloc lost momentum and stubbornly low oil prices weakened the outlook for inflation.
The Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) — a monthly gauge of economic activity compiled by Markit Economics — fell to its lowest level in 13 months in February, to 52.7 from 53.6 in the previous month.
The manufacturing PMI in February stood at a 12-month low of 51.0 in February — down from 52.3 in January — while the PMI for the services sector dropped to a 13-month low of 53.0 from January’s 53.6. A reading above 50 indicates an increase in activity, while a reading below that level indicates a decline.
“Not only did the survey indicate the weakest pace of economic growth for just over a year, but deflationary forces intensified. Economic growth is likely to slow below 0.3 percent in the first quarter unless we see a sudden uplift in March, which on the basis of the forward-looking components of the PMI seems unlikely,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a statement. “In fact, growth looks more likely to slow further than accelerate.”