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Eurozone Private Sector Expansion Weakest In Over 2 Years

Eurozone's private sector expanded at the weakest pace in over two years in October as both manufacturing and services recorded slower rates of growth, latest survey data from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.

The composite Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, fell to 53.1 from September's 54.1. The reading was the lowest since September 2016. The flash reading for the composite PMI was 52.7.

A score above 50 suggests growth in the private sector.

The services PMI eased to 53.7 from 54.7 in September. The flash reading was 53.3. The latest score reflected the slowest expansion since the start of 2017, IHS Markit said.

Earlier survey data showed that euro area manufacturing grew at the slowest pace in nearly four years during October.

"While the PMI numbers hint at an upward revision to the 0.2 percent flash estimate of third quarter GDP growth, it's clear that the economy has slowed and that the weakness has intensified into the fourth quarter," IHS Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson said.

Among Eurozone countries, Ireland again recorded the strongest increase in private sector activity, though output growth was at seven-month low. Growth in France and Spain were above historical averages.

Meanwhile, private sector growth eased to a five-month low in Germany and the pace of expansion was the joint lowest in over two years.

In Italy, private sector activity declined for the first time since the end of 2014.

Weaker gains, the slowest in over two years, in incoming new business was largely to blame for the downturn in overall activity growth.

Employment grew strongly in Germany, France and Ireland, and modest gains were seen in Italy and Spain.

The survey also showed a sharp increase in company operating expenses as higher energy and fuel prices, and labor costs to some extent, boosted inflation. Consequently, companies raised their output prices strongly.

Business confidence in the euro area slid to its lowest level in nearly four years, the survey found, with companies remaining worried about protectionism and recent political developments.

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