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German Flash PMI Reveals Widespread Struggles Across Sectors

Highlights

  • German Economy Faces Contraction: Latest HCOB Flash PMI Data
  • Composite PMI at 45.8, signaling contraction
  • Labor market faces accelerating job losses
  • Demand and supply under significant strain

Struggling Sectors

The German economy is exhibiting signs of persistent contraction, with both manufacturing and services sectors stumbling at the outset of Q4, as shown by the HCOB Flash PMI survey.

The Composite PMI Output Index was recorded at 45.8, marking a dip from September’s 46.4.

While manufacturing output showed a slight uptick, the service sector dived into contraction at 48.0, from 50.3 the previous month.

This signals that both segments are failing to boost the economic outlook, with manufacturing being the primary laggard.

Labor Market Under Strain

Adding to the woe, the labor market is also facing adverse conditions. Employment decreased for the second consecutive month, albeit at a faster pace this time. While the service sector saw minor job cuts, manufacturing experienced the quickest rate of staff shedding since October 2020. This confirms that the economic downturn is not only affecting business output but is also extending its impact onto the workforce.

Demand and Supply Woes

Amid these challenges, the demand for goods and services also witnessed a significant decline. Inflows of new business reported their steepest drop since May 2020. The manufacturing sector saw a slight easing in the rate of decline for new orders, but the service sector reported its worst performance in nearly three-and-a-half years, attributing it to client hesitancy and tighter financial conditions. Moreover, cost pressures have eased but remain significant, particularly in the services sector due to rising wages and general inflation.

Pricing Pressures

Despite the contraction, inflation rates for goods and services inched up from a two-and-a-half-year low in September. Service providers are still experiencing a steep rise in operating expenses, whereas factory gate charges are continuing to fall. These trends reflect the ongoing cost pressures in the economy, affecting both sectors differently.

Short-Term Forecast: Bearish

In light of today’s PMI data and underlying challenges in the labor market and demand-supply dynamics, the near-term outlook for the German economy remains bearish.

Although there are minor signs of improvement in manufacturing, widespread issues across sectors indicate a more profound economic malaise that could linger into the next quarter. With businesses exhibiting low confidence in future prospects, caution is likely to dominate investor sentiment.

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