European GDP, 3rd Quarter 2023: Eurostat has issued its third estimate of economic growth (or rather the lack of it) for the 3rd quarter of 2023. They have kept their previous estimate of no change in GDP for the EU as a whole but a quarter-on-quarter fall of -0.1% for the Euro-zone. However, the comparison with a year earlier has been downgraded to “no change” (from an increase of +0.1%) for both the Euro-zone and the EU.
There is one very minor crumb of comfort in that both of these figures include Ireland whose GDP data is heavily distorted by the presence of the headquarters of multi-nationals for tax purposes (Ireland has the lowest rate of Corporation Tax in the EU). Irish GDP contracted by -1.9% compared to the 2nd period of 2023 and by -5.6% compared to a year earlier – these are the weakest figures on both comparisons among the 27 countries but they only have a minor impact on the overall totals as it is still a relatively small economy.
Looking at the other country detail, there were 13 countries whose GDP fell in the latest period and, of these, 7 are in recession on account of having at least two consecutive quarters of non-positive growth – these were Austria (3 negative quarters out of the last 4), Denmark, Estonia, Ireland (both of which have had 4 consecutive negative quarters), Luxembourg (3 negative quarters out of the last 4), Netherlands (3 consecutive negative quarters) and Sweden (also 3 out of the past 4 quarters),
Looking at the comparisons back to this time last year, 10 of the EU countries have a GDP reading that is lower than it was in the 3rd quarter of 2022. These are Austria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Sweden. Noticeably missing from both of these lists are the larger economies of France, Italy and Spain, although with the exception of the latter whose tourism sector has enabled a reasonable growth rate through most of 2023, the picture is still far from healthy.
You can get the full details from the Eurostat News Release which can be downloaded from their website at https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/news/euro-indicators (7 December) or requested from MTA.
Purchasing Managers Index, November 2023 (update): When we published our summary of the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data for the manufacturing sector last week, we did not have the figures from the Americas or the overall global average.
The report of the global manufacturing PMI, published by J P Morgan using the data from S&P Global followed the general trend that we identified from the Asian and European figures of an improvement on the October numbers but still being in negative territory. With a reading of 49.3, this was the “best” since May but extended the run of sub-50 values to 15 months (starting in September 2022).
The summary notes that all five elements of the index point to a contraction in activity, although the pace of this slowed compared to October for output, orders and employment. There is a chink of good news regarding output where the negative trend was caused by the intermediate goods sector, with production of consumer and, most importantly for us, investment goods grew slightly.
In the Americas, the manufacturing PMI for both the USA and Canada was lower than it had been in October, but it increased in Brazil and Columbia; despite this, all 4 countries had a reading below the crucial 50 level. The exception in this group was Mexico where the already positive reading improved a little to reach 52.5, its highest in this country since July.
Overall in November, only 5 (China, Greece, Hungary, India and Mexico) of the countries/regions that we report on had a manufacturing PMI in positive territory with, exceptionally, 3 more exactly on the neutral level of 50 (Ireland, South Korea and the ASEAN group).
The updated set of charts can be downloaded below with the individual S&P Global PMI reports on their website at https://www.pmi.spglobal.com/Public/Release/PressReleases. You should note that the PMI readings for Hungary, Sweden and Switzerland are not compiled by S&P Global but can be found with an appropriate internet search (it also means that they are not part of the global PMI calculation).