LONDON (ICIS)--Manufacturing sector output growth in the eurozone continued to slow in March yet remained robust, according to the latest report from analysts IHS Markit on Tuesday.
The eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 56.6 points in March, having stood at 58.6 in February and 59.6 in January, as a slowdown in growth was seen across all nations, Markit said.
A reading over 50.0 points shows economic expansion, while a reading below would signify a contraction.
The Netherlands posted the strongest performance in the eurozone, recording a PMI of 61.5, however, this was also a five-month low. Germany’s PMI was 58.2, an eight-month low, Italy’s was 55.1, also an eight-month low, Spain’s was 54.8, a six-month low and France’s was 53.7, a 12-month low.
Other nations to post strong growth were Austria (58.0), Greece (55.0) and Ireland (54.1), 10-month, 3-month and 12-month lows respectively.
“The further easing in the headline PMI mainly reflected slower growth of manufacturing production and incoming new business, both of which rose to the lowest extents since November 2016.” Markit said.
Growth in new export business, meanwhile, slipped to a 15-month low.
“March saw the biggest fall in the manufacturing PMI since June 2011 and the third successive slowing in the pace of expansion,” said IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson.
“We should not be too worried by the fall in the PMI as some moderation in the pace of growth from the surge seen at the turn of the year was inevitable, not least because short-term capacity constraints limit the economy’s ability to grow so quickly for long periods.”
Williamson added that despite the slowdown, growth remains robust by historical standards and he maintained that manufacturing would continue to make a substantial contribution to GDP growth in the first quarter.
(Pictured: A car stockpile in Essen, Germany. Source - Hans Blossey, imageBROKER, REX, Shutterstock)