Euro zone factories ended 2023 on the back foot, with activity contracting in December for an 18th straight month, according to a survey which gave scant signs of any imminent strong bounceback in an economy likely in recession. The pessimistic trend strongly pointed to a contraction in euro zone GDP last quarter, Hamburg Commercial Bank's chief economist Cyrus de la Rubia said. "Amid a relentless slump in the manufacturing sector of the euro zone, the HCOB PMI has shown little improvement compared to November. It paints a bleak picture for the euro zone and would mean that the euro zone entered a recession in the third quarter," de la Rubia said. Photo: ReutersThe 20-country euro zone will endure a short and shallow winter recession, an early December Reuters poll found.