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Economic reports point to decline around globe

The eurozone is on track for its second recession in three years, China's once booming manufacturing sector is contracting faster than previously reported, and America is widely seen as struggling to keep up its pace of growth.

Business surveys released on Thursday painted a global picture of economic malaise from Beijing to Berlin.

The eurozone economy will shrink around 0.5% in the current quarter as the economic rot is even spreading through Germany, the region's strongest economy, Markit's Purchasing Mangers' Index (PMI) suggested.

It came on the heels of the HSBC Flash China manufacturing PMI falling to 47.8 for August, its lowest level since November and well down from July's final figure of 49.3.

Growth in the US manufacturing sector is also expected to have slowed in August.

"The indicators taken as a whole indicate a material slowdown in the pace of the world economy," said economist Philip Shaw at Investec.

The eurozone composite PMI, which measures manufacturing and services together, was actually slightly better than a month earlier, nudging up to 46.6 and just pipping forecasts for it to hold steady at July's 46.5. But was still its seventh month in a row below 50, the dividing line between contraction and growth.

More worryingly, the flash composite PMI for Germany fell to a three-year low, a fourth straight month of contraction.

German economic growth slowed to 0.3% in the second quarter. The euro zone economy shrank by 0.2% in the three months to June.