Man­u­fac­tur­ing de­clines and sentiment wors­ens

Kathimerini English - - Focus - PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

All es­ti­mates for 2017 had pointed to an eco­nomic ex­pan­sion in Greece, but data since the start of the year have re­vealed the op­po­site, with man­u­fac­tur­ing, eco­nomic sentiment and con­sumer con­fi­dence all head­ing south.

The man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor in Greece con­tin­ued its de­cline for a sixth con­sec­u­tive month in Fe­bru­ary, ac­cord­ing to the Pur­chas­ing Man­agers In­dex (PMI) com­piled by Markit. Its reading was at 47.7 points last month, be­low the neu­tral level of 50 points, al­though it was some­what higher than Jan­uary’s 46.6 reading.

Ac­cord­ing to Markit, “as a re­sult of the re­duced pro­duc­tion de­mand, com­pa­nies cut down on staff dur­ing Fe­bru­ary, re­duc­ing em­ploy­ment lev­els for a third con­sec­u­tive month.”

“Con­di­tions in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor con­tin­ued to de­te­ri­o­rate in Feb- ru­ary. The un­der­ly­ing causes be­hind the lat­est down­turn fol­low an all too fa­mil­iar nar­ra­tive, as wan­ing do­mes­tic and for­eign de­mand con­tin­ued to weigh on out­put, lead­ing to fur­ther job losses,” ex­plained Markit econ­o­mist Alex Gill, who is re­spon­si­ble for the PMI sur­vey. Man­u­fac­tur­ers also faced higher raw ma­te­rial costs last month.

The eco­nomic sentiment in­dex recorded by the Foun­da­tion for Eco­nomic and In­dus­trial Re­search (IOBE) re­vealed a fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in Greeks’ out­look for the next few months, as its reading came to 92.9 points in Fe­bru­ary from 95.1 points in Jan­uary. In its monthly sur­vey IOBE also recorded a de­cline in con­sumer con­fi­dence, which has dropped close to the level recorded last April, the low­est in the last three-and-a-half years.

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