Business activity worldwide at weakest in three years in February

Thu Mar 3, 2016 11:53am EST
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By Jonathan Cable

LONDON (Reuters) - Global business activity expanded at its weakest rate in over three years in February despite firms cutting prices for the first time since September, business surveys showed on Thursday.

The U.S. service sector contracted for the first time since October 2013, euro zone businesses had their worst month in over a year, and China's service sector growth slowed.

Thursday's downbeat surveys come just days after reports showed manufacturing output across much of Asia shrank in February and faded throughout Europe and the Americas.

JPMorgan's Global All-Industry Output Index, produced with private data vendor Markit, slumped to 50.6 in February from January's 52.6, its lowest reading since October 2012 when it nudged above the 50 mark that divides growth from contraction.

"February's PMI surveys further highlight the broad-based weakness in global growth during the opening quarter of 2016," said David Hensley, a director at JPMorgan.

A purchasing managers index (PMI) covering the global service industry fell to a 40-month low of 50.7 from 52.8.


An employee welds the exterior of a vehicle along a production line at a factory in Qingdao, Shandong province December 1, 2014.  REUTERS/China Daily