The Straits Times
Published on Nov 22, 2012

Euro zone faces deepest downturn since 2009


LONDON (REUTERS) - The euro zone economy is on course for its weakest quarter since the dark days of early 2009, according to business surveys that show companies toiling against shrinking order books this month.

Service sector firms like banks and hotels that comprise the bulk of the economy fared particularly badly, laying off staff at a faster pace.

While the monthly rate of decline that manufacturers reported eased far more than economists anticipated, Markit's latest purchasing managers' indexes (PMIs) pointed to little change overall for a recession-hit euro zone this month.

The flash service sector PMI fell to 45.7 this month, its worst reading since July 2009, the survey showed on Thursday, failing to meet the expectations of economists who thought it would hold at October's 46.