Euro zone contraction deeper than thought in Dec

Economic activity in the Euro zone fell more sharply than previously thought at the end of 2020.

That's according to the IHS Markit's final December Purchasing Managers' Index - a closely watched gauge.

The headline composite figure did rise to 49.1 - but that was well below an initial reading of 49.8, and anything less than 50 indicates contraction.

In European powerhouse Germany, services declined for a third month, while Italy performed far worse than predicted.

One plus was France, though, with business activity there almost returning to growth.

With infection rates soaring across Europe and countries imposing fresh lockdowns the services sector faces another hard time in the near future.

Economists are optimistic about the coming year, however.

The future output index rose to 64.5 from 60.4 - its highest reading since April 2018.

Forecasters see markets gaining momentum later this year as vaccines are rolled out.

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