The private sector economy of the Eurozone – the eight largest European economies (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain) within the twelve-nation euro currency zone – fell sharply during March, according to the Reuters Eurozone Purchasing Managers Index, analysed and published by NTC Research.

Key findings from the monthly survey are …

• Private Sector Economy
This contracted at the fastest rate for fifteen months as demand for goods and services fell for the first time in five months. Input costs rose at the fastest pace for just over two years, largely due to the recent surge in oil prices. Such cost pressures, as well as concerns over weak sales, promoted a further round of widespread job shedding.

• Composite Output Index
At 48.8 the index signalled a drop in output of the combined manufacturing and service sectors for the first time in six months. The contraction of output was the largest recorded since December 2001 and was led by the service sector, which saw activity levels decline at the fastest rate since November 2001. Meanwhile, in the manufacturing sector the rate of growth of output slowed to near stagnation, its weakest performance for three months.

• Input Costs
Strong upward cost pressures persisted in both manufacturing and services. The Eurozone Composite Prices Index signalled a further acceleration in the rate of input cost inflation to the highest since February 2001.

The Report on Eurozone, which excludes the UK, is a monthly publication, researched and published by NTC Research featuring original data from surveys of Eurozone purchasing executives in manufacturing and service sectors.

Data sourced from: NTC Research; additional content by WARC staff