German manufacturers end sluggish Q1 with slightly faster growth: PMI

Published Fri, Apr 1, 2016 · 09:23 AM

[BERLIN] German factory activity eked out growth in March as manufacturers ended their weakest quarter in more than a year, a survey showed on Friday, in a sign Europe's biggest economy is feeling the pinch from a global slowdown.

Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the German economy, inched up to 50.7 in March from February's 50.5 - the weakest reading since November 2014.

The March reading came in above a Reuters consensus poll for 50.4 but was only narrowly above the 50 line that separates growth from contraction.

Although output in the manufacturing sector narrowly increased, growth in new orders slowed and companies cut their workforce for the second month running.

"It is likely that output growth will remain sluggish in coming months," Markit economist Oliver Kolodseike said. "There are also signs that Germany's export-oriented manufacturing sector is struggling in a challenging global economic environment," he added.

New export contracts increased in March at a slower rate for a third consecutive month, only narrowly avoiding stagnation.

Low prices for energy and raw materials also caused producers to reduce their selling prices by the most since the end of 2009, when the world was in the throes of the financial crisis.


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