German exports and industrial orders have both plunged at the steepest rate since modern records began and Spain’s unemployment has surged above three million, capping one of the most disastrous days for Europe’s economy since the Second World War.

Joaquín Almunia, the European economics commissioner, warned that the picture would turn 'dramatically worse' this year. The eurozone’s confidence index collapsed from 74.9 to 67.1, the lowest since Brussels started collecting the data in 1985.

'It makes truly dismal reading,' said Julian Callow, Europe economist at Barclays Capital. 'Industrial sentiment has never experienced such a rapid slump. There is an implosion of demand.'

Financial Times