European factories slip further as growth slows for the Brics

Julian Harris
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THE DECLINE of manufacturing in Europe continued in April, with even Germany suffering a hit to its product-making industry.

A range of purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) from across the continent yesterday revealed contracting factory sectors in nearly every recorded country.

Markit’s PMIs show economic growth when scores are above 50, and contraction when below 50.

In Germany, the economic powerhouse of the single currency bloc, manufacturing recorded a score of 48.1 – a four month low.

And a separate survey by VDMA said that German machinery orders in March were four per cent lower than a year earlier.

In neighbouring France, the Markit PMI score edged up to 44.4 – yet this still shows the country’s factory sector to be in steep decline.

Similarly, Greece’s score hit a 21-month high, but remains far from revealing a factory sector in expansionary territory.

Across the 17-state Eurozone as a whole, the manufacturing PMI slipped slightly, from 46.8 in March to 46.7 last month. The data suggests that the euro area will remain in recession during the second quarter.

“Companies are still being impacted by lacklustre demand and subdued client confidence in both domestic and export markets,” the report said. “The rate of decline in new export orders accelerated to a four-month record in April.”

Elsewhere in the world, signs of global economic slowdown were also in evidence. Markit’s PMI for China mirrored this week’s official PMI by falling to 50.4 in April, down from 51.6 in March. And in fellow Bric Brazil, the manufacturing PMI measured 50.8 in April, down from 51.8. India printed 51, the lowest recording since November 2011.