Eurozone Markit Final Manufacturing PMI numbers were released yesterday. The results, as I warned months in advance, were decidedly not pretty.
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The weak PMI number reflected a drop in Eurozone manufacturing production for the second consecutive month, as new order inflows declined at the fastest pace since December. Austria was the only nation to see production rise in April.
Manufacturers reported weak demand from both domestic and export clients – with intra-Eurozone trade volumes also heavily impacted. This hurt even German manufacturers, who saw production fall for the first time in 2012-to-date as an accelerated rate of decline in new export volumes reverberated through the sector.
Further causes for concern were sharper rates of decline in output at Italian and Spanish manufacturers, plus an ongoing steep downturn in Greece. Meanwhile, French manufacturing output contracted at a weaker pace than that seen in March.
Even German manufacturing output showed a renewed decline, attributed by many firms to weak demand from southern Europe. As such, it is hard to see where growth will come from in coming months, unless export demand picks up strongly from countries outside of the Eurozone.
“The ECB’s latest forecast of merely a slight contraction of GDP this year is therefore already looking optimistic. However, with the survey also showing inflationary pressures to have waned, the door may be opening for further stimulus.”
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