Struggle Ahead As Recession Nears End
As the UK prepares to exit the longest double-dip recession since the 1950s on Thursday, there is growing evidence of a fierce battle ahead to sustain economic growth.
While British manufacturing output reached its lowest level for three years this month, another survey indicated the eurozone was losing its struggle to keep its head above water - with Germany increasingly suffering the effects of the single currency crisis.
The pace of the decline in economic activity was even worse in France.
Markit's Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which polls around 5,000 businesses across the 17-nation bloc and is viewed as a reliable growth indicator, fell to 45.8 this month.
That was the lowest reading since June 2009 for the index, which measures growth above 50.
The contraction in manufacturing output in the UK was identified by the business lobby group the CBI, which found that companies were increasingly concerned by political and economic problems abroad.
17% of manufacturers reported a fall in export orders while total orders also tumbled.
The proportion of firms blaming political and economic conditions abroad for a lack of orders rose from 25% in the three months to July to 34% in the most recent period.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said the survey "reinforces suspicion that the UK still faces a major task in developing sustainable recovery" after an expected return to economic growth in the third quarter.
Economists have forecast the Office for National Statistics to confirm UK GDP growth of around 0.6% between July and October - largely thanks to a lack of Bank Holidays which harmed output in the two previous quarters.