Analysts said the risk to euro zone growth posed by the Ukraine conflict and stubbornly low inflation should keep the pressure on the European Central Bank to provide further stimulus at some stage, if not this week.
Markit said the slowdown likely reflected the impact of rising tensions between the European Union and Russia over the future of Ukraine, as well as growing doubts about the effectiveness of euro-zone economic policy and its likely future course.
The euro is on its way to parity with the dollar by the end of 2017, say analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The currency has dropped 5.75% since hitting a 2014 high in March, closing on Friday at 1.3133.
"Euro zone manufacturers are clearly finding life very difficult at the moment as current heightened geopolitical tensions (particularly related to Russia/Ukraine) add uncertainty to still challenging conditions in many countries," he said in a ...