Pain in Germany, France as PMI falls in euro zone
Markit's Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) was unchanged at 45.1 in June, above the preliminary reading of 44.8 and holding at its lowest reading since June 2009.
Anchored below 50 mark that divides growth and contraction for almost a year now, the survey again showed factories in the region's two biggest economies, Germany and France, are succumbing to a downturn that started in southern Europe.
Companies are clearly preparing for worse to come, cutting back on both staff numbers and stocks of raw materials at the fastest rates for two-and-a-half years, said Chris Williamson, chief economist at data provider Markit.
The PMI suggests that the goods-producing sector contracted by around 1 percent in the second quarter, with this steep rate of decline looking set to accelerate further as we move into the second half of the year. Released on the heels of a summit of European Union leaders in which they agreed to help Spain and Italy borrow more affordably, the survey only highlighted the huge challenge policymakers face in restoring the currency union's economic fortunes. Alarmingly, the survey's employment index fell to 46.7 in June, its lowest since January 2010, from 47.1 in the previous month, signalling accelerating job cuts. With companies like French carmaker Renault last month announcing plans to cut jobs, the factory payrolls look