The latest global manufacturing growth figures for March show only a modest improvement in industrial performance for many countries around the world, according to researchers Markit Economics. The Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, created in conjunction with bankers JP Morgan, rose to just 50.5 last month, up marginally from its stagnant 50.0 level in February.
In the US manufacturing sector growth remained almost unchanged from its recent 28-month low with a PMI of 51.5 for March, up only slightly from 51.3 in Feb, although a faster increase in incoming new work and sustained growth of employment numbers were the main positive developments last month.
In Asia, China’s increase in industrial activity clicked up in March with a PMI rising to 49.7, up from 48.0 the previous month. India saw the strongest surge in industrial activity in Asia in March, with a PMI at an 8-month high of 52.4. Improvements were also seen in Taiwan (up to 51.1), Indonesia (up to 50.6), Singapore (up to 52.0), and Vietnam (up to 50.7).
However, manufacturing in Japan dipped into contraction last month with a PMI of 49.1, and both South Korea at 49.5 and Malaysia at 48.4 remained under the growth threshold. Turkey’s manufacturing activity dipped below the growth threshold with a PMI of 48.8, while Russia’s industrial performance continued to suffer with worsening contraction last month, down to 48.3 in March compared to 49.3 in Feb.
Europe, however, fared better with mixed fortunes and a Eurozone PMI of 51.6 last month. This, however, is only a marginal increase from its 51.2 level in Feb. Nevertheless, Ireland saw an 8-month high at 54.9, the Netherlands reached a 5-month high at 53.6, and both Italy (53.5) and Spain (53.4) recorded 3-month highs. France, however, dipped back into contraction with a 7-month low of 49.6 and Greece remained below the growth threshold at 49.0. Outside the 18-nation Eurozone, The UK’s performance was also subdued last month, with a PMI up to just 51.0, following its 34-month low of only 50.8 in February. Overall, these mixed results around the world left the Global Manufacturing PMI up only slightly over Feb at 50.5.