Today Markit released September Flash PMIs for the euro area, US and China. The PMI Composite Index (combining both manufacturing and services sectors) showed the private sector business activity in the euro area contracted faster in September than in August, at the fastest pace since June 2009. While the decline in manufacturing activity eased, it accelerated in the services sector, which is more reliant on domestic demand. Interestingly, business confidence in the eurozone worsened despite the ECB’s pledge to fight the debt crisis with unlimited bondbuying,
which was expected to have lifted sentiment.
In Germany both the manufacturing and services PMIs improved in September. The services sector expanded modestly, with PMI above the 50 mark for the first time since July. German manufacturing was still contracting in September, but at a slower pace compared to August. The Markit data showed that new export orders in the German manufacturing sector dropped at a much less marked pace than the 40-month record-low registered in August. As a result, the German Composite PMI, although still below 50, was at the highest level since April. In case of France, PMIs painted a much gloomier picture as both manufacturing and services activity worsened visibly in September. As a result the Composite PMI slumped, indicating private sector business activity in France fell at the steepest pace in three-and-a-half years.
Summing up, September PMIs point towards a contraction in eurozone GDP in 3Q12, amid ongoing headwinds from global slowdown and fiscal tightening at home, despite downturn easing in Germany. This would mean the euro area entered recession this quarter after already contracting in 2Q12. The today’s PMIs also increase pressure on the ECB to cut interest rates further from the current 0.75%, which in our opinion is likely already at the October 4th meeting. The bleak eurozone outlook and expectations for further easing abroad will likely support the dovish MPC members at the upcoming October 3rd meeting, where we expect rates to be cut by 25bp. The poor eurozone outlook adds to worries about the strength of the global economy. The PMI for China showed the country’s manufacturing activity is still contracting (for the 11th straight month), although the pace of the slowdown is stabilizing. Also U.S. manufacturers reported another month of difficult business conditions in September, with the weakest quarterly PMI result in three years in 3Q12.
Eurozone Manufacturing PMI: 46.0 (45.1 in August, consensus 45.5), 6- month high.
Eurozone Services PMI: 46.0 (47.2 in August, consensus 47.5), 38- month low.
Eurozone PMI Composite: 45.9 (46.3 in August, consensus at 46.6), 39- month low.
Germany Manufacturing PMI: 47.3 (44.7 in August, consensus at 45.2), 6-month high.
Germany Services PMI: 50.6 (48.3 in August, consensus at 48.5), 4- month high.
Germany Composite PMI: 49.7 (47.0 in August), 5-month high.
France Manufacturing PMI: 42.6 (46.0 in August, consensus 46.4), 41- month low.
France Services PMI: 46.1 (49.2 in August, consensus 49.5), 4-month low.
France Composite PMI: 44.1 (48.0 in August), 41-month low.
US Manufacturing PMI: 51.5 (unchanged vs. 51.5 in August).
China Manufacturing PMI: 47.8 (47.6 in August), 2-month high.