Eurozone business activity remained stuck in negative territory in May but showed signs of stabilising, a widely-watched survey showed on Wednesday.
The Markit Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index was unchanged from the initial reading at 47.7 points, hitting a three-month high and well up on April's 46.9 points but still below the boom-bust threshold of 50 points.
On the positive side, Germany, Europe's powerhouse economy, edged up to 50.2, a two-month high, while struggling Spain hit 47.2, its best performance in 23 months.
France was still deep in trouble at 44.6, although this was a five-month high, while Italy was unchanged at 46.6.
Chris Williamson, Markit chief economist said the report confirmed "that the eurozone remains gripped in the longest recession" since the introduction of the euro.
The economy is likely to have contracted 0.2 percent in the second quarter, making for seventh consecutive run of negative figures, Williamson said.
While the downturn may have eased, the "reality is that the region lacks any growth drivers, making it difficult to believe that anything better than a mere stabilisation of economic activity remains unlikely for the foreseeable future," he said.