Eurozone business growth has slowed significantly this month — and by much more than expected — as consumers concerned about soaring bills opted to stay at home and defer purchases to save money, a survey showed yesterday.
S&P Global’s flash composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI), seen as a good gauge of overall economic health, slumped to 51.9 from 54.8 last month, far below the 54 predicted in a Reuters poll and its lowest level since February last year.
“Eurozone economic growth is showing signs of faltering as the tailwind of pent-up demand from the [COVID-19] pandemic is already fading, having been offset by the cost of living shock, and slumping business and consumer confidence,” S&P Global chief business economist Chris Williamson said.
The composite new business index dropped to a 16-month low of 50, the dividing line between growth and contraction, from 53.3.
A PMI covering the bloc’s dominant services industry sank to 52.8 from 56.1, missing expectations for 55.5 and its weakest reading since April last year.
Growth in demand for services all but dried up, and firms faced input costs rising at a near-record rate, forcing them to pass some of that burden on to customers. The input prices index rose to 78.3 from 77.4 and has only been higher twice in the survey’s 24-year history — in March and April.
Inflation in the bloc hit a record 8.1 percent last month and could still go higher in coming months, so the European Central Bank is expected to raise its deposit rate above zero for the first time in a decade in September, a Reuters poll found.
High prices meant demand for manufactured goods fell at the fastest rate since May 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was taking hold, and the headline factory PMI fell to a near two-year low of 52 from 54.6. The Reuters poll had predicted a modest drop to 53.9.
An index measuring output, which feeds into the composite PMI, dropped to 49.3 from 51.3, its first time below 50 in two years.
“Inflows of new business have stalled, led by a slump in demand for goods and reduced demand for services from cash-strapped consumers in particular,” Williamson said.
“At the same time, business confidence has fallen sharply to a level rarely seen prior to the pandemic since the region’s economic contraction during 2012, hinting at an imminent downturn unless demand revives,” he said.
With costs still soaring and supply chains disrupted, factories cut back on purchases of raw materials, suggesting there would be little improvement anytime.
The future output index sank to 51.6 from 55.4, the lowest since May 2020.
China’s chip industry is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, after US sanctions on local champions — from Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to Hikvision Digital Technology Co (海康威視) — spurred appetite for homegrown components. Nineteen of the world’s 20 fastest-growing chip industry firms over the past four quarters, on average, hail from the world’s No. 2 economy, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. That compared with just eight firms at the same point last year. Revenue at China-based suppliers of design software, processors and gear vital to chipmaking is increasing at several times the pace of global leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co
Had Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck hopped on an electric scooter rather than a Vespa in the classic film Roman Holiday, their spin around the Eternal City might have ended in tears. The number of crashes and near-misses involving the two-wheelers has prompted Rome authorities to impose some order on a booming rental market that began two years ago. The havoc came to a head earlier this month when two US tourists attempted a night-time drive down the Spanish Steps, causing more than 25,000 euros (US$26,392) worth of damage to the 18th-century monument. Caught on security footage, the couple in their late 20s
POSITIVE SIGNS: GlobalWafers has continued to sign long-term supply agreements, most of which exceed 2028, and aside from one factory, it is running at full capacity GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), the world’s third-largest silicon wafer maker, yesterday said that Samsung Electronics Co and most of its customers have not scaled back on orders, or delayed shipments, even though consumer spending has shifted away from smartphones and notebook computers due to mounting inflation pressures. Rising inflation has altered consumers’ spending habits, dampening sales of consumer electronics, the Hsinchu-based company said. However, customers all honored their supply agreements by adjusting their product mix and shifting to applications that are still reporting robust growth, it said. Aside from one 6-inch factory, GlobalWafers’ 15 factories around the world are running at 100 percent
Nearly a quarter of European companies in China are considering shifting their investments out of the country as COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns dim the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, a survey showed. About 23 percent of the businesses that responded to the survey are thinking of moving their current or planned investments away from China, a report released yesterday by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China said. The survey was conducted at the end of April, when Shanghai was still in shut down and restrictions in places like Jilin Province disrupted business activity. The number of European firms reassessing