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Greek Manufacturing Sector Expands for Second Consecutive Month: Markit

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Greek Manufacturing Sector Expands for Second Consecutive Month: Markit

Greece’s manufacturing sector expanded moderately in February, a sign the economy may be stabilizing after six years of recession.

Markit Group’s gauge of Greek manufacturing activity increased slightly from 51.2 to 51.3. Greece’s manufacturing PMI has been above the 50 level that separates contraction from expansion for two consecutive months.

The manufacturing sector was boosted by solid gains in output and new orders. Production in February increased for the fourth consecutive month and at the fastest pace since August 2008. A growing influx of new work was the primary driver behind the sharp rise in production, Markit said. Manufacturers reported the fastest rise in new order since May 2008, a sign demand is picking up in one of Europe’s most struggling economies.

New order growth was unable to spur job gains, as manufacturers continued to lay off workers at a slightly faster pace than the previous month. Businesses appeared to be in no rush to fill voluntarily vacated positions, as a large drop in backlogs removed pressure on staffing capacity.

“Solid growth in output and new orders meant that the headline PMI was in expansion territory for a second consecutive month in February – the first back-to-back readings above 50.0 for almost five-and-a-half years,” wrote Markit economist Phil Smith in a press release. “Export orders were also up, a sign of improved competitiveness.”

The Greek economy is forecast to grow 0.6 percent in 2014, after contracting for six consecutive years, according to the European Commission. The country’s gross domestic product declined by about a quarter during that time, with unemployment hitting a record high of 28 percent in November 2013, more than double the Eurozone rate.

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