Italy's manufacturing sector contracted the most since early 2013 as firms logged the seventeenth successive monthly reductions in both output and new business, data published by IHS Markit revealed on Thursday.
The factory Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 46.2 in December from 47.6 in November. A score below 50 indicates contraction.
The survey suggested that the current sequence of contraction in the sector extended to fifteenth consecutive month.
Production declined at the fastest rate for nearly seven years, while order book volumes fell sharply in December.
Meanwhile, job shedding continued for the seventh month running and at the quickest pace since May 2013. At the same time, input prices and output charges continued to decrease, albeit at softer rates, survey showed.
Italian manufacturers remained confident that output would increase over the coming 12 months in December.