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Eurozone Private Sector Contracts In February

The euro area private sector continued to contract in February, driven lower by a further slump in the service sector as virus-related restrictions continued to affect many businesses, survey results from IHS Markit showed on Friday.

The composite output index rose to 48.1 in February from 47.8 in January. The expected reading was 48.0.

However, a score below 50 indicates contraction. The sector has shrunk for the fourth consecutive month.

The service sector downturn was offset by faster manufacturing growth, led by Germany, the survey showed.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 44.7 from 45.4 a month ago. Economists had forecast a reading of 45.9.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing PMI surged to a 36-month high of 57.7 from 54.8 in the previous month. This was above consensus forecast of 54.3.

Ongoing COVID-19 lockdown measures dealt a further blow to the eurozone's service sector in February, adding to the likelihood of GDP falling again in the first quarter, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit said.

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