Greek factory activity slips for second month running in March
Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing, which makes up about 10% of the economy, rose to 49.0 points in March from 48.4 in February, but remained below the 50 point mark denoting growth in activity.
“Survey data for March signal a further deterioration of operating conditions. However, the downturn has eased considerably from the lows of last summer,” said Markit economist Samuel Agass.
The PMI indicator’s average in the first quarter was the highest since the last quarter of 2014. “As has been the case since September 2014, demand for Greek goods continues to wane. Backlogs of work were reduced further and output still remains in contraction territory,” Agass said.
On a brighter note, the survey showed an increase in employment in Greek factories, although the rise was slight. It was the third increase in jobs in the last four months.
Manufacturing output declined further, driven by a broad-based decline in demand. Firms reported weakness in both domestic and foreign markets.
New business volumes from abroad continued to contract. Export orders have fallen in each month since November 2014 but the rate of decline has slowed since February.
Downward pressure on factory gate prices continued during the month but the pace of deflation eased to its slowest in 18 months. Some discounts offered by manufacturers were linked to the drop in input costs, notably oil.
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