Tentative signs the euro zone may have passed the worst of its downturn emerged in December but business surveys also suggested Britain’s economy tipped back into contraction in the final months of 2012.
Friday’s purchasing managers indexes, which measure the activity of thousands of companies worldwide, brought mixed news from Europe.
Activity in Britain’s dominant services sector fell for the first time in two years and at a faster pace than predicted by any analyst polled by Reuters, while the speed of decline among French, Italian and Spanish firms slowed.
Data from the United States due later on Friday are expected to show continued but modest jobs growth and a steady expansion of its services sector.
With Chinese growth showing evidence of revival, that leaves Europe as the world’s economic slowcoach going into 2013.
In particular, economists were surprised by news the U.K. services PMI slipped to 48.9 in December from 50.2 last month, sagging below the 50 mark that divides from contraction for the first time in two years.
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