NewsGerman manufacturing slump deepens as PMI hits 43.5 in June

German manufacturing slump deepens as PMI hits 43.5 in June

The German economy sent a bad signal.
The German economy sent a bad signal.
Images source: © Getty Images | Thierry Monasse
Robert Kędzierski

1 July 2024 13:52

The PMI index for German industry fell to 43.5 points in June from 45.4 in May, signalling the fastest pace of economic downturn since April. S&P experts note a decline in production, orders, and employment, as well as an accelerated reduction in inventory.

On Monday, we learned the readings from many European countries - France, Poland, the eurozone, and Eastern Bloc countries. S&P also released data on Germany. The latest PMI reading indicates a worsening crisis in the German manufacturing sector. The report published on Monday shows that the PMI index for industry fell to 43.5 points in June from 45.4 in May. This is the lowest reading in two months, significantly below the 50-point threshold that separates economic growth from decline.

Germany. Clear production decline

The main reason for the deteriorating situation was the accelerated decline in production. The production index fell to 45.1 points from 48.9 in May, marking the lowest level in three months. The downturn affected all three main industrial sectors: consumer, intermediate, and capital goods. The decline in production coincided with a sharp and accelerated decrease in the total number of new orders.

Surveyed companies pointed to weak domestic demand and decreased orders from other European markets and China. Exports fell faster than in May, though slower than the number of new orders. The significant demand reduction contributed to the accelerated decline in production backlogs, as companies fulfilled orders faster than they received new ones.

Despite the difficult situation, the June survey showed the fourth consecutive monthly increase in German manufacturers' optimism about growth prospects over the next year. The level of optimism slightly exceeded the pre-pandemic average and was the highest since February 2022. Companies expressed hopes for an increase in exports, higher investments, and an overall improvement in economic conditions over the next 12 months.

Will the decline ever end

PMI data was traditionally commented on by Dr Cyrus de la Rubia, chief economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank, who stated:

Will this decline in production ever end? It will end, but apparently, it will take more time than expected. After observing a softening of the production decline each month since March, the trend was finally interrupted in June - he writes.

In his opinion, the accelerated drop in new orders, especially export orders, indicates that Germany will have to wait a few more months before a recovery in the manufacturing sector occurs.

The expert also highlighted the worrying situation in the capital goods sector, the "pillar of German industry." De la Rubia noted that while this is only a monthly decline and should not cause excessive pessimism, it is concerning that the capital goods sector is moving away from the growth zone rather than approaching it.

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