Global Economic Analysis and News of Note
- Industrial production in Japan fell 3.4 percent between January and February, nearly twice the 1.9 percent decline analysts had predicted. The reading was the weakest in eight months.
- The JP Morgan global purchasing managers’ index (PMI) was little changed last month, falling to 51.8 in March from 51.9 in February. Worldwide, manufacturing employment and production remained relatively steady, as did prices.
- The Markit PMI for the Eurozone increased to 52.2 in March from 51.0 in February as individual readings in Germany and Italy hit 11-month highs. Markit said, “Growth of eurozone manufacturing production accelerated to a ten-month high in March, underpinned by the fastest expansion of incoming new business since April of last year. With the performance of the sector strengthening further, companies raised employment at the quickest pace for over three-and-a-half years.”
- PMI readings in Asian nations were almost universally negative in March. The HSBC PMI for China fell to 49.6 in March from 50.7 in February. HSBC said, “The latest data indicate that domestic and foreign demand remains subdued amid weaker market conditions, which dampened output growth as a result. Meanwhile, company downsizing policies contributed to a further decline in manufacturing employment, with the pace of job shedding the strongest since last summer.” Japan’s reading also fell in March, to 50.3 from 51.6 in February as employment levels dropped for the first time in six months. The reading for South Korea fell below the all-important 50.0 mark, declining to 49.2 in March as production and new orders declined. Additionally, the manufacturing sectors in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam also weakened in March. One bright spot: the HSBC PMI for India increased to 52.1 in March from 51.2 in February as output rose for the 17th month in a row.
- As a reminder, all PMI readings can be found here.