STORY: Euro zone business activity contracted last month at the fastest pace since late 2020.
That's according to a closely-watched survey released Friday (November 4).
S&P Global's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index - or PMI - suggested the bloc was heading for a winter recession.
Consumers are dealing with a double hit of high inflation and an energy crisis.
Inflation in the 19 countries using the euro surged more than expected last month, hitting 10.7% - over five times more than the European Central Bank's target.
Now the ECB will likely move ahead with more rate hikes - adding to the challenges faced by consumers.
The PMI is seen as a good guide to economic health.
It fell to a 23-month low of 47.3 in October, from September's 48.1.
Anything below 50 indicates contraction.
The new business index fell to 45 - its lowest reading since November 2020, at the height of the health crisis.
The Euro zone's dominant services industry also dropped to a 20-month low.
High operating expenses due to energy, wages and transport costs pushed services firms to sharply raise charges.