The Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing produced by J P Morgan using the data from IHS Markit was unchanged from the November reading at 54.2. As we will see, most of the countries covered had positive PMI readings (that is, they are above 50) although there is an almost even split of those where the expansion in activity was faster and slower than in the previous month. One notable point in the global report is that output growth at investment goods producers accelerated but slowed in the intermediate and consumer goods sectors.
The UK manufacturing PMI fell marginally to 57.9 which continues to indicate an expansion of activity in the sector – the PMI is a measure of change with a reading above 50 pointing to an expansion of activity compared to the previous month; the size of the number provides an indication of the strength of this growth although it is not a measure of levels and marginal changes are not significant. Output rose at its fastest rate for 4 months and while new orders were also positive, this was concentrated in the domestic market with export new orders falling for the 4th month in a row.
In the Euro-zone, the overall manufacturing PMI fell to its lowest level since February but at 58.0 it is, like the UK, still significantly positive. There appears to be an easing of supply chain problems with average lead times lengthening by the softest amount since February which lead to the strongest ever increase in the purchase of inputs. Within the region, the manufacturing PMI fell in five (France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and Spain) of the 8 countries covered by the survey; it was unchanged in Germany and only Austria and Greece had a higher reading than in November.
In contrast, in the rest of Europe only Sweden and Russia recorded a fall in their manufacturing PMI compared to November. The most dramatic change in December was in Hungary where the PMI reading leapt to 64.8 (an increase of 12.6 points compared to the previous month) to give it both the highest reading and the largest increase in our analysis. There was a significant increase for both Czechia and Poland, with marginal improvements in Turkey and Switzerland.
In the Americas, Mexico (49.4) and Brazil (49.8) saw no change in their slightly negative PMI readings – these are 2 of only 4 countries below the 50 threshold in December. Both Canada and the USA saw a small fall in their manufacturing PMI but the readings remained significantly positive at 56.5 and 57.7 respectively.
Finally, in Asia, China saw a return to positive territory at 50.9 (having been 49.9 in November) and there was also a modest increase in the reading for Taiwan, South Korea and the ASEAN group of countries; however, within the latter region, Thailand and Myanmar both had manufacturing PMI’s below 50 with the latter’s reading of 49.0 the lowest in our analysis despite being significantly higher than in November when it was 46.7. There was a slight fall in the PMI reading for Japan, while India had the largest reduction compared to the previous month – despite this, both had readings well above the 50 threshold.
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.