The Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing which is produced by J P Morgan using the data from IHS Markit, improved slightly in February to 53.6 but apart from January, it is at its lowest since the start of 2021. There was an increase in output, new orders and employment and the although the element for suppliers delivery times was still showing them lengthening, this was to the least extent since January 2021. It is worth noting that all data collection took place before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
For the UK, the manufacturing PMI increased to its highest level since November 2021 as growth in both output and total new orders accelerated, although it is worth noting that export orders fell for the 5th time in the past 6 months with reports of Brexit related issues, pandemic restrictions in some trading partners and business being lost because of long lead times. The delivery times element of the index is still adding to the PMI (thanks to the perverse way in which this is treated) but this was to the least extent since November 2020, suggesting that this situation is easing at least in some areas.
In contrast, there was a modest fall in the manufacturing PMI for the Euro-zone which nearly reversed the improvement that we saw in January. Despite this, both output and orders gained momentum in February and the reversal in the index is driven by an easing of delivery times while employment was stable. There is an interesting comment in the IHS Markit report for the Euro-zone in that although there were stronger improvements among producers of consumer and intermediate goods while the investment goods sub-sector (the most important for us) recorded a weaker expansion, the latter is still at the strongest level overall. Among the major manufacturing nations, the PMI improved compared to January in Netherlands, France and Spain, was unchanged in Italy and fell back (but remains at a high level) in Germany, Austria and Ireland.
For the non-Euro members of the EU, the PMI improved in Hungary and marginally in Poland but fell back in both Sweden and the Czech Republic although in all cases it is well above the crucial 50 level. Switzerland also saw a small fall in its PMI but this only reversed the modest improvement in January and it continues to have the highest PMI reading in our analysis. The reading in Turkey was very slightly lower than in January and at 50.4 it remains just in positive territory while there was a more significant fall in the PMI for Russia which fell back into negative territory for the first time since September 2021.
In Asia, there was a similar mix of trends with China seeing an increase which returned them to positive territory while South Korea and India were also higher than in January; meanwhile, Japan, Taiwan and, marginally, the ASEAN region all recorded a lower PMI reading, although all were above the crucial 50 level.
In the Americas, all 4 countries recorded a higher PMI reading than in January with significant increases in the USA, Mexico and Brazil and a more modest improvement in Canada. However, despite this, both Brazil and Mexico remain below the 50 mark with the latter having the lowest PMI reading in our analysis.
Finally, we have mentioned the highest and lowest readings this month; the largest improvement in the PMI reading was in Hungary (plus 2.5 points to 53.2) while the largest reduction compared to the January reading was in Sweden (-3.6 points to 58.6) with Russia (down -3.2 to 48.6) and Austria (-3.1 to 58.4) also seeing significant movement.
The IHS Markit PMI reports for major economies around the world are available from their web-site at https://www.markiteconomics.com/Public/Release/PressReleases and our summary charts report is available to download below. You should note however, that the PMI readings for Hungary, Sweden and Switzerland are not compiled by IHS Markit but can be found with an appropriate internet search.