Manufacturing declines again, at reduced pace

Greece’s manufacturing sector shrank modestly in April but at a much slower pace than in March, defying a worsening trend elsewhere in the eurozone, a monthly survey of some 300 Greek companies showed yesterday. The seasonally adjusted purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose in April to 49.1 from 47.5 in March, but remained below the 50.0 mark which signals expansion, NTC Research, which compiles the index, said. «Operating conditions in the Greek manufacturing sector deteriorated for the second consecutive month in April. The PMI was negatively affected by three out of its five components, however, output and purchasing activity both expanded,» NTC Research said. The survey was taken between April 14 and 25, after US troops took Baghdad on April 9. Although some Greek manufacturers reported an adverse effect from the Iraq war on orders, particularly exports, there was little concrete evidence to suggest that the recovery in the PMI in April was driven solely by the end of the war, NTC senior economist Luke Thompson said. Output and purchasing activity both expanded, with a number of panelists saying a rise in production was due to decisions to rebuild stocks of finished goods. New orders contracted for the second month in a row, with companies citing an uncertain economic outlook and bad weather conditions as depressing incoming orders, NTC said. In the eurozone, the Reuters Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 47.8 from 48.4 in March, below expectations for a slight uptick to 48.5. (Reuters)