On Friday, there was a raft of purchasing managers’ indices from Germany and the eurozone, with the latter readings being particularly disappointing. The composite PMI – which combines the activity of manufacturing and services companies – fell to 51.3 in December from 52.7 the month before. It is the weakest rate of growth since November 2014 and below the 52.8 the markets had been expecting.
Manufacturing and services PMI in Germany also came in below expectations. Improvement from the previous month had been expected, but both readings actually fell in December. These are worrying times for the eurozone economy, especially given the European Central Bank’s recent downgrading of its economic forecasts for the remainder of 2018 and throughout 2019. Wage growth in the third quarter of 2018 hit 2.4% from 2.1% the previous period which was some welcome news for workers, but the overall feeling was one of concern.
Today brings with it the eurozone’s balance of trade figures for October and the inflation rate for November. It is expected to drop to the ECB’s target rate of 2% from 2.2% in October. However, so many readings have been wide of the mark lately that it would not be surprising to see inflation differ from expectations.