The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI rose from 55.2 in January to 55.5 in February, its fastest rate since April 2011. As such, the continent’s economy continues to move in the right direction, with activity accelerating at a modest rate. The headline PMI has trended higher since bottoming at 51.2 one year ago. The underlying data were mostly higher in February. New orders (up from 56.0 to 56.1), output (up from 56.1 to 57.2) and exports (up from 55.2 to 55.5) each accelerated somewhat in the latest survey. Hiring growth (down from 55.0 to 54.6) also continued to be promising despite pulling back a little from its quickest pace in nearly six years. Likewise, respondents remained upbeat about future output (down from 66.9 to 66.3) even though that measure eased from its highest point since January 2014 in this release. Read More
The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI grew from 54.3 in December to 55.1 in January, its highest level since March 2015. This mirrored faster pace of expansions for new orders (up from 55.6 to 57.3), output (up from 55.1 to 56.7) and exports (up from 50.3 to 51.1). Demand growth was the strongest since September 2014. On the other hand, employment (down from 54.1 to 53.3) decelerated a bit in January but remained mostly encouraging. Looking ahead 12 months, manufacturers were optimistic about future output (up from 64.3 to 69.4), with that forward-looking index at a nine-month high. Overall, this report provides some encouragement for manufacturers, many of whom have been rather cautious in their economic outlook for much of the past two years. Read More
The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI edged up from 54.1 in November to 54.2 in December, a 21-month high. This mostly mirrored assessments about new orders growth (up from 55.5 to 55.6), which also expanded at the fastest pace over that time frame. Other indicators were mixed but encouraging. Employment expanded at its highest rate in 18 months (up from 52.4 to 54.1), whereas output grew modestly but pulled back a little in December (down from 56.0 to 55.1). On a more disappointing note, exports slowed to a near crawl but were positive for the sixth time in the past seven months (down from 51.0 to 50.3). Softer international demand, however, should not be surprising given the strong U.S. dollar. Overall, this report provides some encouragement for manufacturers, many of whom have been rather cautious in their economic outlook for much of the past two years.
Meanwhile, it was a similar story at year’s end in Europe. The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI increased from 53.7 in November to 54.9 in December, a level not seen since April 2011. As such, the continent’s economy continues to move in the right direction, with activity accelerating at a decent rate. The headline PMI has trended higher since bottoming out at 51.2 in February. The underlying data were higher across the board in December, including new orders (up from 54.4 to 56.1), output (up from 54.1 to 56.1), exports (up from 54.1 to 54.7) and hiring (up from 53.4 to 53.7). In addition, manufacturers in France (up from 51.7 to 53.5) and Germany (up from 54.8 to 56.8) were also more upbeat. In particular, French manufacturing activity expanded at its fastest pace in 67 months, an impressive accomplishment given that the data were in contraction territory as recently as September.
The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI increased from 52.6 in September to 53.3 in October, its fastest pace since March 2014. As such, the continent continued to brush off post-Brexit worries, with activity accelerating in October at a modest pace. Overall, the headline PMI has trended higher since bottoming out at earlier in the year at 51.2 in February. The underlying indices were mostly higher, including new orders (up from 53.4 to 53.6), output (up from 53.8 to 54.4) and employment (up from 52.1 to 53.7). The only weakness was exports (down from 53.3 to 53.0), which pulled back slightly but remained a fairly decent pace of expansion. Read More
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) unexpectedly contracted in August for the first time since February. The composite index dropped from 52.6 in July to 49.4 in August. A couple of the sample responses cited a “flat” business environment for the month. Indeed, new orders (down from 56.9 to 49.1) and production (down from 55.4 to 49.6) both shifted from decent growth in July to decreased activity in August, with employment (down from 49.4 to 48.3) remaining in negative territory for the second straight month.
Overall, this is a disappointing result, as it temporary suspends the narrative that manufacturing was beginning to stabilize after weaknesses seen earlier in the year. Yet, more than anything, this report shows that the sector’s challenges continue to linger even as other data have been more promising. One positive take way was exports (unchanged at 52.5), which have expanded now for six straight months. Read More
Interestingly, the last Markit survey’s responses on Eurozone manufacturing activity were due on June 23, the day of the “Brexit” vote for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union. In that survey, the Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI rose to a six-month high, with stronger data in most European markets, including Germany and the U.K. Suffice it to say, the surprise – at least for financial markets – decision for Britain to leave the European Union has shifted sentiment since then. In the latest survey, the Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI fell to a two-month low, down from 52.8 in June to 51.9 to July, mainly on slowing new orders (down from 53.4 to 52.0). The composite measure, which includes the service sector, edged down from 53.1 to 52.9, its lowest level since January 2015 and off from 54.3 six months ago. Read More
The Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI rose from 51.5 in May to 52.6 in June, its highest level so far in 2016. The irony is that this news came out on the day of the “Brexit” vote, with the United Kingdom deciding whether or not to leave the European Union. Along those lines, the Markit Flash Eurozone Composite PMI, which includes services, declined from 53.1 to 52.8, its lowest point since January 2015. As such, even with encouraging industrial news, overall economic sentiment remained mixed, with modest growth that has slowed so far this year. Uncertainties related to the “Brexit” vote, combined with global headwinds, have added to those anxieties.
Nonetheless, manufacturers reported faster expansions for new orders (up from 51.7 to 53.4), exports (up from 50.9 to 52.5), output (up from 52.4 to 53.8) and employment (up from 51.2 to 52.1) in June. Demand and production grew at their fastest rate since December, recovering from the lull in May, which had been the slowest pace year-to-date. Overall, though, Eurozone manufacturers have now reported growth in the sector in every month since June 2013. Read More
U.S. manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace since September 2009, according to preliminary figures from Markit. The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI decreased from 51.5 in March to 50.8 in April. In general, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad have dampened international demand and overall sentiment over the course of the past year. Manufacturing activity has decelerated significantly over the past 12 months, with the main PMI number down from 54.2 in April 2015. In this report, output (down from 51.4 to 50.3) and hiring (down from 52.1 to 50.2) each pulled back to a near-standstill, with exports (down from 50.0 to 48.5) contracting for the second time in the past three months. On the other hand, new orders (down from 52.8 to 52.0) continued to expand modestly, but with some easing for the month.
As such, this report stands in sharp contrast to the better-than-expected sentiment seen in the competing data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). In that release, new orders and output each grew surprisingly strong in March, lifting its manufacturing PMI value above 50 for the first time since August. It provided some encouragement after months of softness, even as other economic data – including this one from Markit – continue to suggest ongoing challenges. Read More
U.S. manufacturing activity remained “subdued” despite picking up a little in March, according to the latest figures from Markit. The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI increased from 51.3 in February, its slowest pace in more than three years, to 51.4 in March. This suggests that manufacturing in the U.S. remains challenged despite some signs of progress, including accelerated growth for new orders (up from 51.7 to 52.8), output (up from 51.3 to 51.4) and hiring (up from 51.5 to 52.1). The pickup in demand is notable, even as the sales expanded at a much faster pace at this point last year, when the index for new orders stood at 56.4. On the other hand, exports (up from 49.1 to 50.0) were stagnant in March, stabilizing a bit after contracting in February. In general, the strong dollar and weaknesses abroad have dampened international demand and overall sentiment over the course of the past year, with the export index averaging 50.2 over the past 15 months. Read More
The Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI fell to its slowest pace in more than three years in February, a sign that challenges hitting the sector have not yet abated. The composite measure declined from 52.4 in January to 51.0 in February, and in general, manufacturing activity has decelerated over the course of the past year, down from 55.1 in February 2015. On the positive side, new orders (down from 53.6 to 51.7), output (down from 53.2 to 51.3) and employment (down from 52.8 to 51.5) expanded somewhat, just not as far as we might prefer, with the rate of growth slowing in February for each. On the other hand, exports (down from 51.1 to 49.1) returned to negative territory after two months of progress, a sign of just how much the stronger dollar and weaknesses abroad have dampened international demand and overall sentiment. Read More