Eurozone manufacturing sector nears stagnation: Report

By Gokhan Ergocun</p> <p>ISTANBUL (AA) – The eurozone manufacturing sector's Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to its lowest level — 50.5 — in January since November 2014, a London-based global data company said on Monday.</p> <p>&quot;Manufacturing operating conditions in the eurozone improved only marginally and at the slowest rate for over four years at the start of 2019,&quot; IHS Markit said in its report.</p> <p>The index was 51.4 in December 2018, the report showed and said that the eurozone manufacturing sector is moving closer to stagnation. </p> <p>&quot;Ongoing weakness was apparent in the intermediate goods sector at the start of 2019, whilst producers of investment goods recorded a deterioration in operating conditions for the first time since July 2013,&quot; the report read.</p> <p>It added that the sector of consumer goods continued to grow.</p> <p>The report said the eurozone's so-called “big-four” economies registered the lowest manufacturing PMI readings of all countries during November.</p> <p>&quot;Most notably, Germany entered contraction territory for the first time in over four years whilst the downturn in Italy gathered pace,&quot; it noted. </p> <p>Rest of countries saw slower growths while the Netherlands, Greece, and Austria recorded the highest manufacturing PMI readings, with 55.1, 53.7 and 52.7, respectively. </p> <p>Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS, said the manufacturing sector is in the recession period. </p> <p>Williamson said: &quot;Some temporary factors remain evident, including an auto sector that is struggling to regain momentum after new emissions regulation and some signs of ‘yellow vest’ disturbances dampening demand in France.</p> <p>&quot;However, there appears to be a more deep-rooted malaise setting in, which reflects widespread concerns about the destabilising effect of political uncertainty and the damage to exports from rising trade protectionism.&quot;</p> <p>As a critical measurement to indicate the health of the manufacturing sector, the monthly PMI indices — based on surveys and national data — show growth with a value above 50 points, or contraction with a level below 50 points, compared to the previous month. </p> <p>