LONDON: Manufacturers in the eurozone ended 2020 on a high, with activity in the sector increasing at its fastest pace since mid-2018, suggesting the bloc’s economy was less hard hit by the pandemic than earlier in the year, a survey showed.
Germany was again the driving force and in contrast to the bloc’s dominant service industry – which has been particularly badly impacted by lockdown measures to tackle the coronavirus – factories in the region have mostly remained open.
IHS Markit’s final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 55.2 in December from November’s 53.8, although that was below the initial 55.5 “flash” estimate.
Anything above 50 indicates growth, and December was the highest reading since May 2018. An index measuring output, and which feeds into a composite PMI due tomorrow that is seen as a good guide to economic health, rose to 56.3 from 55.3.
“The economy consequently looks set to be hit by the pandemic in the fourth quarter far less than the unprecedented decline in the second quarter, ” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit. — Reuters