Euro zone businesses ended the year on a glum note with growth slowing despite more price cutting, suggesting the European Central Bank's loose monetary policy is still not having much effect, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The ECB eased policy again earlier this month, cutting its deposit rate and extending an asset-buying programme, and Bank President Mario Draghi said on Monday inflation should reach its 2 percent target ceiling "without undue delay".
But that easing fell short of market expectations and the latest PMI survey showed firms cut prices for a third month as they struggle to generate meaningful growth.
"I'm sure everyone would have liked to see stronger growth than this, and it's perhaps an indication that quantitative easing isn't having the effect one would have hoped. More needs to be done," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at survey compiler Markit.
Markit's Composite Flash Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the euro zone, based on surveys of thousands of companies and seen as a good guide to growth, slipped to 54.0 from November's 54.2.
While a Reuters poll had suggested it would hold steady at November's level, it has been above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since July 2013.