Eurozone recession deepens as output in France plunges

Tim Wallace
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THE EUROZONE recession is getting deeper in most countries, with private sector output plunging in France, Spain’s unemployment soaring further and Italian retail sales dropping again, according to a raft of data published yesterday.

But Germany is defying the trend, with businesses reporting strong growth in January, bouncing back from a weak December and raising hope that it could continue to be a positive presence in the blighted currency union.

Markit’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the Eurozone came in at 48.2 in January, below the 50 level and so indicating another contraction in private output.

That is an improvement on the 47.2 recorded in December, largely because of a rebound in German output – its index jumped to 53.6.

But poor French performance weighed on the total score, falling to 42.7 indicating the fastest fall in output since March 2009.

Meanwhile Spain’s unemployment rose to 26 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 and youth unemployment reached a new high of 60 per cent.

Italy saw its retail sales dip another 0.4 per cent, official figures showed, and Belgian business confidence declined from minus 11.8 to minus 13.2, an index reading suggesting recession is on the way.