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Global Manufacturing PMI at six-month low

Staff writer |
The growth rate of the global manufacturing sector eased to a six-month low at the start of the second quarter.

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The growth rate of the global manufacturing sector eased to a six-month low at the start of the second quarter. At 51.9 in April, the J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI – a composite index 1 produced by JPMorgan and Markit in association with ISM and IFPSM – still signalled expansion for the seventeenth successive month.

The slower rate of improvement highlighted by the headline global PMI partly reflected weaker increases in production and new orders. In both cases, the world aggregates were affected by a marked turnaround in the performance of Japan.

Japanese manufacturing output and new business fell sharply following a recent increase in sales tax. However, other evidence from the Japan survey suggests the downturn may be brief, providing a boost to the global indices in coming months.

In contrast, the UK and the US remained bright spots, with output and new order growth accelerating from already elevated rates. The Czech Republic also remained one of the strongest performers. In the euro area, output growth reached a three-month high and was only slightly off of January’s near three-year high.

Conditions in Asia remained subdued in comparison. Apart from the sharp downturn in Japan, there was also a solid decline in Chinese output. South Korean and Indonesian output also contracted, while growth slowed in India and Taiwan.

Elsewhere, Brazil and Russia both registered lower production. International trade flows also rose again during April, although the rate of increase was modest and among the weakest signalled during the current ten- month sequence of expansion. Global manufacturing employment increased for the ninth successive month in April.

Jobs growth was recorded in 22 out of the 26 nations for which April data were available, with China, France, Brazil and Russia the sole exceptions. Inflationary pressures remained generally subdued during the latest survey period, with input costs rising at the slowest pace for ten months and selling prices falling for the second straight month.

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