Tuesday, 18 June, 2019


European growth finishes 2018 with a whimper, PMIs suggest

The manufacturing sector is hit by the double whammy of a new sales and service tax and lower ringgit. – EPA pic The manufacturing sector is hit by the double whammy of a new sales and service tax and lower ringgit. – EPA pic
Conrad Doyle | 06 January, 2019, 18:48

According to the latest survey from Nikkei's IHS Markit, released on Wednesday, Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) - a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance - was 53.8 in December, signalling solid improvement in the health of the manufacturing sector.

After accounting for seasonal factors, the IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing purchase management index (PMI) recorded a final reading of 51.4 in December, down from 51.8 in November.

"The latest United Kingdom services PMI provides further evidence that the economy has lost most, if not all, of the momentum it had last summer", ING economist James Smith said. Markets have priced out any increase in the next 12 months, even as BOE Mark Carney warned that a disorderly exit from the European Union may force the bank to raise rates to contain inflation.

"Companies are not anticipating any imminent revival in demand", IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson said.

In the meantime, rates of input price and output charge inflation eased in December.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China are hurting demand across Asia's manufacturing hubs and export-oriented European economies including Germany.

Additionally, panellists stated they had experienced improved export demand from the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Manufacturers responded to the increase in new orders by raising production in December. An earlier version incorrectly said manufacturing PMI fell to 54.4 in December.

"Employment growth is already faltering as firms took a more cautious approach to hiring". There were reports from panellists of lower costs for items such as oil and paper.

Elsewhere, sentiment improved in December to the most positive in three months.

However, despite December's increase in manufacturing activity, the average PMI reading in the fourth quarter of 2018 was the weakest since the third quarter of 2016, which was the first quarterly survey to be carried out in the immediate aftermath of the vote to leave the EU. Uncertainties regarding Brexit disruption on supply chains and the exchange rate are also weighing on business confidence. Factory gate prices rose at the softest rate in 2018.

Growth in world's second- largest economy is forecast to decelerate to 6.6% in 2018, the weakest pace in nearly three decades, and continue slowing this year and next.

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