Greek factory activity slows in March for seventh straight month

Greek factory activity slows in March for seventh straight month

Greek manufacturing activity contracted in March for the seventh month in a row as a sharp decline in new business led to production cuts and job shedding, a survey showed on Monday.

Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about 10 percent of the economy, fell to 46.7 points from 47.7 in February. Readings below 50 denote a contraction in activity.

The rate of decline in new orders, including from abroad, picked up from February as political and financial uncertainty continued to depress client demand.

"March data signalled an ongoing downturn in the Greek manufacturing sector as output and new orders continued to fall at sharper rates," said IHS Markit economist Alex Gill.

"This led to a further drop in staffing numbers, compounding the country's stubbornly high level of unemployment."

Faced with lower production requirements, companies reduced jobs for the fourth consecutive month and at a faster pace than February.

Manufacturers faced another increase in average cost burdens in March while factory gate prices fell for the third straight month as some firms reduced prices to attract clients.

"On a more positive note, firms remained confident that output would expand in the coming 12 months. Some predicted an improvement in economic conditions, key to which would be a positive conclusion to current bailout negotiations," Gill said.


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