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Global manufacturing at five-month low in March

Staff Writer | April 4, 2018
The rate of expansion in the global manufacturing sector eased to a five-month low in March, as companies reported slower growth of output, new orders and employment.
Global manufacturing
World   J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI
The J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI – a composite index produced by J.P.Morgan and IHS Markit in association with ISM and IFPSM – posted 53.4 in March, down from 54.1 in February and its lowest reading since October 2017.

The average level over the opening quarter as a whole (54.0) was nonetheless unchanged from the prior quarter.

Please note that PMI data for Colombia manufacturing are included in the global readings for the first time.

This has resulted in minor revisions to previously published numbers.

March data signalled slower rates of expansion in both the consumer and intermediate goods sectors, with growth at three- and seven-month lows respectively.

The Investment Goods PMI rose to its highest level in the year-so-far.

National PMI data signalled expansions in almost all of the nations covered, with only South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand seeing contractions.

Growth slowed in the euro area, China, Japan, India and Australia, but improved in the US, the UK, Brazil and Russia.

Global manufacturing production increased at the slowest pace in eight months during March, as growth of total new orders and new export business both eased further.

The increase in new export orders was the weakest in 15 months.

Inflows of new work were still sufficient to test capacity, however, leading to a rise in work-in-hand for the twenty-second straight month.

Employment increased again in March, albeit to the least marked extent in six months.

Job creation was signalled in all of the nations covered except China, India, Russia, Thailand and the Philippines.

That said, only a few countries (Poland, Mexico, Greece, Colombia and Myanmar) saw faster jobs growth than during February.

Price pressures eased in March, with rates of increase in output charges and input costs both moderating.

Part of the rise in purchase prices reflected ongoing supply-chain disruption, including shortages of certain inputs.

This was reflected in the trend in vendor lead times, which lengthened for the twenty-fifth successive month and to the greatest extent in almost seven years.