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Financial News: Eurozone Manufacturing Downturn Deepens In December

Eurozone Manufacturing Downturn Deepens In December

01/02/2020 - 05:18:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The euro area manufacturing sector continued to contract in December with weakness spread across most of the member countries, final data from IHS Markit showed Thursday.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 46.3 in December from 46.9 in November. However, the score was above the flash reading of 45.9.

The PMI reading has remained below the 50 no-change level for the eleventh consecutive month, suggesting that the sector had remained in negative territory in 2019.

In the fourth quarter, the PMI averaged 46.4, unchanged on the previous quarter's near seven-year low.

The survey is indicative of production falling by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, acting as a severe drag on the wider economy, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said.

"The ability of the wider economy to avoid sliding into a downturn in the face of such a steep manufacturing contraction remains a key challenge for the eurozone as we head into 2020," Williamson added.

Both production and new orders continued to deteriorate markedly in December. Moreover, the rate of job losses was the sharpest reported by the survey since the start of 2013.

Although the weakest since September, deflation remained marked and provided further room for manufacturers to lower their own charges. Finally, confidence about the future continued to steadily improve at the end of 2019.

There was a broad-based softening of PMI figures in December, with seven of the eight countries covered by the survey recording weaker PMI numbers compared to November.

Germany was again the weakest-performing country, whilst the deterioration seen in Italy was the sharpest in over six-and-a-half years.

The German factory PMI fell to 43.7 in December from a five-month high of 44.1 in November. The flash reading was 43.4.

France manufacturing activity improved at the slowest pace for three months in December. The PMI came in at 50.4 in December, down from 51.7 in November but above the flash 50.3.

Spain's manufacturing sector contracted for the seventh successive month in December. The factory PMI fell slightly to 47.4 in December from 47.5 in November.

Operating conditions in Italy's manufacturing sector deteriorated further in December, as firms logged the seventeenth successive monthly reductions in both output and new business. The PMI dropped to 46.2 in December from 47.6 in November.

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