European business slump eased in May, long road to recovery

Euro zone businesses suffered another devastating contraction in activity in May and while there are signs the worst is over, it could be months before there is a return to growth, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Governments across the 19 countries that use the euro have gradually started to lift tough lockdown measures imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus which has infected nearly 6.4 million people and killed over 379,000.

But with citizens — many of whom are facing threats to their incomes as well as their health — encouraged to stay at home, and swathes of businesses still shuttered, IHS Markit’s May Final Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) painted a gloomy picture.

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