Manufacturing activity in the 15 countries sharing the euro retreated in July at the fastest pace in more than five years, said a survey released on Aug. 1.
The eurozone's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector, compiled by data and research group Markit, slid to 47.4 points in July, from 49.2 in June, down slightly from an initial estimate of 47.5.
The drop, the steepest monthly fall since June 2003, marked the second month running below the key 50-point threshold that indicates that activity is in contraction.
"The deepening contraction in manufacturing activity evident in the July PMI adds to the mounting evidence that the eurozone economic downturn is deepening," said Global Insight economist Howard Archer.
"Activity is being depressed by a nasty combination of factors, including the very strong euro, elevated energy and commodity prices, softer growth in key export markets, generally muted consumer spending across the eurozone and tight lending conditions," he added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008