Euro Zone Business Activity May've Hit Bottom - Survey

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Bulgaria: Euro Zone Business Activity May've Hit Bottom - Survey woman walks in front of a seasonal decorated shopping window of a department store that has just filed for bankruptcy, in central Athens, Greece on 30 November 2012. EPA/BGNES

The private business sector in the euro zone may have hit a three-and-a-half-year "nadir," according to a survey of the London-based Markit research firm

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a leading indicator compiled by Markit, produced a combined manufacturing and services score of 46.5 points, better than a flash estimate of 45.8 and up from October's 45.7.

"There are signs that the recession may have reached a nadir," said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson, as cited by international media.

In his words, the euro zone's recession seems to have deepened in the final quarter, with gross domestic product likely to have fallen by considerably more than the modest 0.1 percent decline seen in the third quarter of 2012.

But he added that it was "reassuring to see that the final eurozone PMI reading came in higher than the earlier flash estimate."

"Services in particular surprised to the upside," he underlined.

November marked the 10th month in a row that the index was below the neutral 50-mark.

Ireland was the only euro zone country in positive territory, Markit noting that France, Italy and Spain "remained in deep contraction territory, despite rates of decline moderating in France and Spain." The downturn in Germany also eased, they said.

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