“Any further deterioration could herald new concerns among policy makers regarding the economic outlook,” Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, told Bloomberg.

European Central Bank Holds Off Ending Stimulus Measures

The updated data comes off the heels of disappointing reports that pushed the European Central Bank to hold off from ending stimulus measures. Policy makers said they still need time to reassess the economic data but have stuck to the viewpoint that growth is not under any serious threat.

“The ongoing robust recovery that the euro zone is experiencing is a source of optimism for the immediate future,” ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio recently said. “The euro area is much more resilient to possible external financial shocks.”

ECB chief economist Peter Praet contended that the slowdown is to be expected, especially after the fast expansion over 2017, but the weakness came sooner than expected.

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