Brussels, Belgium (4E) – Manufacturing activity in the euro zone became more balanced in March, although it slowed down as the weakness in Germany offset much of the gains across the common currency bloc.
The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing in the euro area declined to 53 from 53.2 in February, according to data provider Markit. The figure is based on a survey of 3,000 companies. A reading above the 50 level indicates on-month expansion in activity, while below that level suggests contraction.
Tuesday’s report shows that manufacturing activity has grown for nine consecutive months, and it is likely that trend will continue in the coming months, with new orders increasing. The upbeat outlook prompted manufacturers to add more workers for the third consecutive month.
For the first time since August 2013, manufacturers have cut the prices at which they sell their goods, sending some cautionary signals to the European Central Bank. For the second straight month, manufacturers’ costs of goods and services they use to make their products fell.
The indicators showed a more balanced recovery in the manufacturing in March, with gains in recorded in Italy, France, Ireland and Spain, and easing seen in Germany and Austria. Greece was the only nation to record a declining activity, as its PMI fell below 50 to hit a three-month low.