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BRUSSELS: Eurozone economic activity shrank at its fastest rate in eight months in July, as a contraction gathered pace on the back of cuts in manufacturing, a key survey said Monday.

Data from the HCOB Flash Eurozone purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey published by S&P Global fell to 48.9 in July from 49.9 in June. A figure above 50 indicates growth.

“Manufacturing continues to be the Achilles heel of the eurozone. Producers have cut their output again at an accelerated pace in July,” said Cyrus de la Rubia, chief economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank.

“The eurozone economy will likely move further into contraction territory in the months ahead, as the services sector keeps losing steam.”

The eurozone’s struggles were fuelled by steep downturns signalled by surveys from economic powerhouses France and Germany.

Germany fell into contraction as output dropped for the first time since January on the back of a sharp decrease in factory output, the latest figured showed.

The painful PMI data comes as the European Central Bank is eyeing a further rate hike this week in its quest to tame inflation.

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