Europe Remains in Dire Economic Straits

GermanyEurope remains in deep economic trouble, judging by the Markit Eurozone PMI reading. Other data on unemployment and GDP is only confirms this information:

The Markit Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index rose to 46.5 in November, up from October’s 40-month low of 45.7 and above the earlier flash estimate of 45.8. The headline index has now remained below the neutral 50.0 mark for ten consecutive months and, although the latest reading was the highest since July, it was nonetheless indicative of a solid contraction in overall private sector output.

The average reading so far in Q4 is the weakest since the second quarter of 2009. Downturns continued in both the manufacturing and service sectors in November. However, rates of contraction slowed to seven- and three-month lows respectively. Both sectors were affected by weak demand from domestic and export markets. Ireland was the only nation to report an increase in business activity during November, with the rate of expansion broadly unchanged on October’s 20- month peak. In contrast, France, Italy and Spain remained in deep contraction territory, despite rates of decline moderating in France and Spain. The downturn in Germany also eased, with output continuing to decline at a considerably weaker rate than in other large nations.

The information from the report that should cause deepest concern is the extent to which France has joined Italy and Spain as an economy that is slipping.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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