German manufacturing shrinks at fastest pace since 2009: PMI

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:50am EDT
 
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By Alice Baghdjian

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's manufacturing sector unexpectedly shrank at the fastest pace in nearly three years in April, denting hopes it can drive growth in the euro zone and

casting a shadow over upbeat business sentiment surveys.

Markit's manufacturing Purchasing Mangers Index (PMI) fell sharply to 46.3 from March's 48.4, according to a flash estimate released on Monday, well below the 50 mark which would sign al growth in activity.

It marked the fastest rate of contraction since July 2009 in the sector, which has been hit by a decline in some exports as the debt crisis in the euro zone has choked demand from

key trading partners.

“Reports are that sales to southern Europe are particularly weak, so there is some evidence of troubles in the periphery (of the euro zone) spilling over to the core," said

Chris Williamson at Markit, adding that global trade was also sagging.

“Germany produces exports that people want to buy when growth is good but cut back on when there are worrying signs, and that's what we've got at the moment," he said.   Continued...

 
A worker stands beside a VW Touran car in a production line at the plant of German carmaker Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, March 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer