Purchasing Managers Index (update), February 2024:  The only economic news this week is to update our report on the Purchasing Managers Index for manufacturing that was being published as we wrote the Friday Brief last week.

The overall Global PMI for manufacturing, produced by J P Morgan using data largely from S&P Global edged up to 50.3 for February (50.0 in January) – this is the first reading above the threshold since August 2022.  There was a modest expansion in output that was common to all three of the sub-sectors – investment, intermediate and consumer goods – and, encouragingly, this was at the 2nd fastest pace in the past 20 months (beaten only by May 2023).  Output grew in places such as China, the USA and India in contrast to declines in the Euro-zone, Japan and the UK.

Globally, total new orders were positive (albeit only just) for the first time in 20 months, but new export orders remained negative.  Manufacturing employment fell but at the slowest rate since last September.  There was a mixed picture on suppliers’ delivery times as these extended in some countries, including the UK and France, giving a perverse boost to the index, while others, including Germany and the USA, saw a reduction which held back their PMI calculation.

When we reported last Friday, we did not have the data for any of the countries in the Americas.  All but one of the five countries on this continent saw their manufacturing PMI improve compared to January and only Canada still has its reading below the crucial 50 threshold;  Brazil, Mexico and the USA all improved their already positive index.  The exception to the upward trend was Columbia which had the largest reduction (-3.9 points) in their manufacturing PMI compared to January across the 28 countries and 2 regions that we track;  however, despite this, the PMI was still in positive territory at 51.2.

To complete the picture, we note that the PMI weakened in South Korea but remained mildly positive (50.7). The individual S&P Global PMI reports are available to download on their web-site at https://www.pmi.spglobal.com/Public/Release/PressReleases but we also have a summary charts report which is available to download below.  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).

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