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Euro zone manufacturing PMI falls to 46.6 in March

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Investing.com - Manufacturing activity in the euro zone deteriorated to a three-month low in March, remaining in contraction territory for the 20th consecutive month, preliminary data showed on Thursday.

In a report, market research group Markit said that its preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to a seasonally adjusted 46.6 in March from a final reading of 47.9 in February.

Analysts had expected the index to ease up to 48.2 in March.

On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.

The report also showed that service sector activity in the euro zone deteriorated to a five-month low in March.

The preliminary services purchasing managers' index fell to a seasonally adjusted 46.5 from 47.9 in February. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 48.2 in March.

Commenting on the report, Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit said, "While the data are consistent with the pace of economic decline easing in the first quarter from the 0.6% contraction seen in the final quarter of last year - perhaps showing a 0.3% decline - the concern is that the downturn has gathered pace again."

Following the release of the data, the euro remained lower against the U.S. dollar, with EUR/USD falling 0.34% to trade at 1.2891.

Meanwhile, European stock markets extended losses. The EURO STOXX 50 declined 0.8%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.9%, London's FTSE 100 dipped 0.7%, while Germany's DAX slumped 0.8%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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