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Greek factory output declines in August, export orders weaken: PMI

[ATHENS] Greek manufacturing activity declined in August as new orders and output deteriorated further, a survey showed on Tuesday, with the battered sector continuing to shed jobs.

Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for manufacturing, a sector which makes up about 10 per cent of the economy, rose to 39.1 points in August from 30.2 in July, but remained well below the 50 mark that denotes growth and at one of the lowest levels in the survey's history.

"The headline PMI reading paints a disconcerting picture of the health of the Greek economy, as uncertainty builds around the nation's future political and financial position," said Markit economist Samuel Agass.

Greece is headed for a national election on Sept 20 after former leftist premier Alexis Tsipras resigned last month, aiming for a stronger mandate to implement an EU/IMF bailout and rid his party of anti-bailout rebels.

The drop in production in August extended the latest downtrend to eight months with firms citing weak demand and a decrease in new orders, both at home and from abroad.

"Operating conditions continued to deteriorate in August, with falling production levels reflecting the weakening demand in the sector. Companies struggled to obtain new contracts," Mr Agass said.

Employment at manufacturing firms declined for the fifth straight month but at a slower pace than in the previous month.

Firms faced a combination of rising input costs, with capital controls cited as one of the reasons, and falling gate prices, highlighting the lack of pricing power afflicting the sector.