Euro-area services and manufacturing output fell to a 39-monthlow in September as European leaders struggled to reverse thesingle-currency bloc's slide into recession.

A composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers inboth industries in the 17-nation euro area dropped to 45.9 from46.3 in August, London-based Markit Economics said today in aninitial estimate. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.Economists had forecast a reading of 46.6, the median of 23estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

The euro area's economy is heading for a second straightquarterly contraction after a 0.2 percent decline in the threemonths through June as fallout from the fiscal crisis dampsconsumer spending and corporate investment. European Central BankPresident Mario Draghi this month unveiled details of an unlimitedbond-purchase program to regain control of interest rates and fightspeculation of a currency breakup.

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