Slowdown Beckons as Euro Zone Retail Sales Drop More Than Expected

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Euro zone retail sales plunged in June and factory gate prices continued to rise, data showed on Wednesday, adding to fears the 19-country single currency zone is heading for recession, Reuters reported. The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said the volume of retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro, already adjusted for inflation, fell 1.2% month-on-month in June for a 3.7% year-on-year decline. Economists polled by Reuters had expected unchanged monthly sales and only a 1.7% annual fall. Separately, euro zone business activity, measured by the purchasing managers index (PMI), contracted in July for the first time since early last year as consumers reined in spending amid a cost-of-living crisis. Read more.