Cool economic winds blew across the Eurozone during April, as employment resumed its southerly trend and the growth rate slowed to a five month low.
Despite a number of encouraging indicators, the overall picture is one of near-standstill for the Eurozone - the eight nation currency zone comprising Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Ireland, Greece and the Netherlands (plus the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic for the EU data).
The monthly report from NTC Research is based on consolidated data from over 6,000 manufacturing and services companies. Its key findings for April are:
The index fell from 52.5 in March to 51.8 in April, registering an expansion of private sector output for the twenty-first consecutive month. However, the decline in the index pointed to an easing in the rate of growth for the third successive month to the weakest since November, and a rate of expansion well below that seen prior to the slowdown of last autumn.
- New Business
At 51.2 the index signalled only a modest rise in demand for goods and services. Growth of incoming new business picked up in the services sector, rising at the fastest pace since January, but nevertheless remained only modest by historical standards of the survey.
- Input Prices
These fell to a fourteen-month low of 57.7. The rate of input price inflation has eased sharply since peaking last October, due largely to the easing in euro-denominated oil prices.
The index fell to a five-month low of 49.6, indicating a marginal decline in staffing levels. Manufacturing employment fell at the fastest pace since September 2003.
Data sourced from NTC Research; additional content by WARC staff