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Eurozone business index fell in February

March 5, 2013 at 9:21 AM

LONDON, March 5 (UPI) -- A composite index of eurozone business activity showed business contraction picked up momentum in February, research firm Markit reported Tuesday.

With numbers below 50 indicating a contraction, the Markit Eurozone Composite Output Index dropped to 47.9 in February, a sharper contraction than January, when the index stood at 48.6.

The figures represent a final estimate. In a previously released flash estimate, the composite index for the eurozone was reported at 47.3.

The report on the 17-member eurozone includes the February Purchasing Manager's Index for service-oriented businesses, which mirrors the composite index precisely. The survey pegged the service PMI at 47.9, which is a sharper decline than January's 48.6 , but not as pronounced as the flash estimate, which was 47.3.

The composite index measures both service and goods-producing business activity. "The index therefore signaled a steepening of the downturn in business activity, contrasting with the easing trend which had been evident in the three months to January," Markit said.

In Germany and Ireland, the composite PMI showed business growth with levels at 53.3 and 52.8, respectively.

The PMI in Spain is at a two-month low at 45.3. In Italy, the PMI is at a three-month low at 44.4. In France, the PMI reached 43.1, a two-month high, Markit said.

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