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IHS: Eurozone growth remains 'close to stagnation'

Eurozone economic growth remained close to stagnation, as the manufacturing downturn continued and the service sector expanded at one of the weakest rates since 2014.

The IHS Markit PMI composite output index came in at 50.2 in October, slightly above 50.1 in the previous month, but below the Econoday consensus estimate of a 50.4 print.

Manufacturing PMI remained unchanged at 45.7, below the 50 no-change level, compared to expectations of an improvement to 46.0. The manufacturing output index stood at 46.2 in October, compared to 46.1 in September.

The service sector, which moved to 51.8 in October from 51.6 in September, is keeping GDP growth in positive territory, "but growth could easily tip into the negative territory if some of the downside risks materialize," said Bert Colijn, senior eurozone economist at ING.

The latest PMI survey comes as the European Central Bank prepares to deliver its monetary policy decision, the last under Mario Draghi's presidency. The central bank will be led by Christine Lagarde from Nov. 1.

Nordea Markets' Inge Klaver, Anders Svendsen and Tuuli Koivu expect further ECB policy easing in December given subdued economic growth, with another rate cut and an expansion of the asset purchase program.

In Germany, the composite output index registered 48.6 in October, little changed from September's near seven-year low of 48.5 and compared to the consensus estimate of 48.7. Employment fell for the first time in six years.

German manufacturing PMI was at 41.9 in October, compared to 41.7 in September and expectations for a 41.6 print. Rates of decline in factory output and new orders eased, according to the survey results.

German exports remained in steep decline, the survey showed. The German services sector's growth slowed to the weakest level since September 2016.

The French composite output index climbed to 52.6 from 50.8, reflecting a broad-based expansion, with manufacturers registering a slight recovery in output and service providers posting a faster expansion.