LONDON (Reuters) – Private sector activity in the euro zone contracted again in December due to the continued slowdown in the services industry, according to an S&P Global purchasing managers’ survey published on Thursday.

The composite HCOB PMI index, considered a good indicator of the state of health of the economy, stood at 47.6 in December, like the previous month, after a “flash” estimate of 47.0.

It is below the threshold of 50, which separates a contraction from growth in activity, for the seventh month in a row.

This indicates that the euro zone’s gross domestic product (GDP), which fell by 0.1% in the third quarter, is expected to contract again in the fourth quarter, signaling an economic recession.

In the services sector, the PMI index stood at 48.8 in December after 48.7 the previous month.

The PMI for the manufacturing sector, published on Tuesday, stood at 44.4 after 44.6 in November.

The general sentiment for the coming year, however, shows an improvement. The subindex measuring future output rose to a seven-month high of 57.6 from 56.0.

(Written by Indradip Gosh, Blandine Hénault for the )

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