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The end of the third quarter saw a further easing in the rate of eurozone economic expansion. September saw combined output across the manufacturing and service sectors rise at the slowest pace since January 2015.
The flash estimate of Markit's Eurozone PMI® Composite Output Index slipped to 52.6, down from 52.9 in August, a 20-month low.
The average index reading over the third quarter (52.9) is below that of quarter two (53.1), also suggesting that the economy is losing, rather than gaining, momentum. Looking beneath the headline figure highlighted contrasting growth trends at manufacturers and service providers. Service sector business activity increased at the weakest rate since the end of 2014, whereas manufacturing production expanded at the quickest pace since December of last year.
Manufacturers benefitted from faster growth of both total new orders (three-month high) and new export business. The gain in new export orders was the steepest in two-and-a-half years. Service sector order books meanwhile rose at a pace unchanged from August's 19-month low. The outlook for the service economy also weakened, with optimism regarding levels of activity in 12 months' time dipping to a 21-month low.
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