“The PMI has now edged higher for two successive months, but has improved only marginally from what was a worryingly low base earlier in the year. The survey is signalling an anaemic annual rate of growth of manufacturing production of just less than 1%, which is half the pace seen in the months leading up to the recent slowdown.
“Prices also continue to fall, both in terms of raw material costs and average prices charged for goods leaving the factory gate, albeit at reduced rates compared to prior months. “The survey data therefore so far show no signs of ECB stimulus or the weaker euro helping to revive the manufacturing sector, at least for the euro area as a whole. Hopes are therefore pinned on recent signs of increased bank lending and more aggressive quantitative easing providing the muchneeded boost.
“National performances were mixed, with Italy and Spain registering the strongest rates of manufacturing expansion while growth in Germany showed signs of reviving after a recent bout of near-stagnation. France remained a major concern, however, with the PMI signalling the steepest downturn for a year and exports showing the steepest slump for three years. France also stood out as being the only country to report a drop in factory employment.”