``The wider European context could hardly be more gloomy. The latest Markit index of purchasing managers across the eurozone is the worst since the spring and summer of 2009, at the depth of the recession. Both the composite and services indexes reached 39-month lows. This suggests that the private sector economy shrank for the 12th time in the past 13 months, with the pace of decline picking up speed to reach the most pessimistic level since June 2009.''

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