Manufacturing activity in the euro zone slumped more than expected in April,  tumbling to the lowest in nearly three years, a survey shows today.

The NTC Research's purchasing managers index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell to 50.7 points from 52 points in March, the lowest level since August 2005 and slightly lower than an initial estimate of 50.8.

A figure above the 50-point level indicates growth in activity, while below it signifies a contraction.

Although overall activity remained above the key 50-point  threshold, the production of consumer goods contracted, NTC said.

Economists said the survey provided further evidence that the manufacturing sector was increasingly feeling the pinch from a range of factors.

They said that manufacturing activity slowed slightly more than previously estimated in April as it was buffeted increasingly by the very strong euro, elevated oil and commodity prices, softer growth in key export markets and tighter lending conditions.