Data released late last week revealed that the eurozone's manufacturing sector contracted for the 15th straight month in October. Output fell. New orders declined.
The Telegraph (UK) quotes Chris Williamson (chief economist at Markit): 'The ongoing weakness of the periphery is being combined with [a] hollowing out of the previously strong core of France and Germany.'
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told a meeting of her Christian Democratic party in Sternberg that the eurozone would take years to recover. She said that new investment from outside Europe was crucial, but such investment would not materialize unless European governments demonstrated rigor and fiscal discipline.
The time had come for 'a bit of strictness,' she said, according to the Telegraph report.
Yes, a little bit of strictness.
But it gets worse. The Deutsche Welle English language website account of the Sternberg meeting has her saying: 'We have to hold our breath for five years or more.'
I doubt, however, that Dr Merkel sounds quite so funny in German (or indeed when translated into Greek or Spanish).