Eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers indices are out and it does not look pretty. The final Markit Eurozone manufacturing PMI hit a 34-month low of 45.9 in April, below the flash estimate of 46, as job losses accelerated to their fastest rate in over two years.
Significantly, manufacturing weakness was no longer confined to the periphery. German PMI fell to a 33-month low, conditions deteriorated sharply again in France and the Netherlands also contracted at a faster rate. (When are those elections again?)
And as intra-Eurozone trade volumes slumped, even German manufacturers saw production fall for the first time in 2012 as an accelerated rate of decline in new export volumes hit hard. Unemployment rose for the first time since March 2010.
In France, April’s reduction in new work was the tenth in as many months and the sharpest for three years. Job losses quickened to the sharpest since July 2010.
(Well done Ireland and Austria – the new core?)
The overall data signals a more than 2 per cent contraction of industrial production across the eurosone in the quarter to come:
And a slide further into recession (h/t Michael McDonough):
“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,” said Chris Williamson, markit chief economist.
And the euro was distinctly unimpressed, falling sharply against the dollar as the data hit screens: