More bad news for the Eurozone: the German economy contracted during the second quarter of the year, the country's Federal Statistics Office confirmed today.
The figures confirmed preliminary estimates, which suggested GDP shrank 0.2 per cent in the second quarter, after 0.7 per cent growth in the first quarter. Compared with the same period in 2013, it was up 1.2 per cent.
The figures follow a series of downbeat economic data releases from the economy traditionally seen as the Eurozone's strongest. Research by market research group GfK found consumer confidence had fallen, while unemployment rose, albeit by just 1,000 people.
Markit's second estimate of the purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the Eurozone's manufacturing sector confirmed it isn't just Germany experiencing problems: the figure was revised down from 50.8 to 50.7, a 14-month low (any figure below 50 indicates a contraction in the sector). For Germany, the figure fell to an 11-month low.
The news will put further pressure on the European Central Bank to take measures to strengthen eurozone economies. At a meeting on Thursday, the bank is expected to agree an asset-backed security purchase programme, which would ease credit conditions. ECB chairman Mario Draghi is reported to have enlisted money manager BlackRock to help it design the programme.