The eurozone’s manufacturers hinted at extremely weak growth in December, with a score of 50.6 in Markit’s purchasing manager’s index. Anything above 50 for the business survey signals growth, but Europe’s second- and third-largest economies are in negative territory.
The score was slightly above November’s 50.1, but the fourth quarter overall was the worst for European industry since the third quarter of 2013, when the currency union was just emerging from a technical recession.
Germany’s expected improvement was the only bright spot this month. Figures from Italy, Spain, and France all came in worse than expected.
Here’s how that looks in context:
And here’s the scorecard for the major economies:
France: 47.5 in December (48.4 in November, 47.9 expected)
Italy: 48.4 in December, 19-month low (49 in November, 49.6 expected)
Germany: 51.2 in December (49.5 in November, 51.2 expected)
Spain: 53.8 in December (54.7 in November, 54.9 expected)
In short, it’s bad news. Europe’s industry looks even worse for wear, and it wasn’t exactly looking healthy before.
Here’s what Chris Williamson, Markit’s chief economist, had to say:
Eurozone factory activity more or less stagnated again in December, rounding off a year which saw an initial, promising-looking upturn fade away and stall in the second half of the year. The weakness of factory output, combined with the subdued service sector growth signalled by the flash PMI, suggests the eurozone economy grew by just 0.1% in the fourth quarter