ECONOMY

PMI stayed below par in December

The climate in Greek manufacturing remained downbeat in December for a fourth month in a row, as the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, remained below the 50-point level used to distinguish decline from growth.

A reading of 49.4 points in the last month of the year, up from 49.1 points in November, is attributed to a reduction in new orders, especially those destined for the country’s export markets. Nevertheless, manufacturers last month increased their employment levels, putting an end to six consecutive months of shrinking in this area.

“The PMI index remained marginally below the 50-point level in December, highlighting that corporate conditions remain difficult. Efforts for the recovery of the sector observed at the start of the year have slowed in recent months, while also being negatively affected by weaker sales both in the domestic and the foreign markets,” commented Phil Smith, a Markit economist who is a Greece expert.

“The slight increase in output and employment at the end of the year are rather optimistic signs, but it is unlikely they can evolve into notable trends without the support from the increase in new orders. The sector’s contribution to the overall economic growth in the last quarter appears to have been neutral,” Smith added.