Manufacturing activity contracted again in December 2012 in the eurozone, which continues to be plagued by weak domestic and external demand, according to a second estimate of the purchasing managers index (PMI), published on 2 January by the Markit research firm.

The PMI for the manufacturing sector stood at 46.1 points in December, compared with 46.3 in an earlier estimate. The index stood at 46.2 points in November. This score marks the 17th consecutive month of decline in manufacturing activity in the eurozone. An index of less than 50 points shows that activity is contracting, while more than 50 points shows growth.

"The eurozone manufacturing sector remained entrenched in a steep downturn at the end of 2012," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. He added that this decline in production is in line with a quarterly contraction of around 1% of GDP. "Although less severe than in the previous quarter, this decline in activity is a major obstacle to economic...

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