Eurozone industry: Is the end of the slump in sight? – ING

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According to Bert Colijn, senior economist at ING, Eurozone’s industrial production is likely to have increased in May but without an improved trade outlook, manufacturing could be in for a weak second half of the year.

Key Quotes

“Industrial production peaked in December 2017 and has been on a declining trend ever since. While the indicator is volatile and plenty of one-off factors have been impacting the industrial sector over the past year and a half, the trend is worrying. Although the reasons behind the downturn remain somewhat of a mystery, as some indicators are still pointing to decent performance, it does seem that weakening global demand and trade uncertainty have had a more significant impact than initially expected. This means more sluggishness could be on the cards. Remarkably though, this contraction in activity has not caused employment to decline. As long as that is the case, an outright eurozone recession remains unlikely.”

“Production seems sensitive to weakened global demand and trade uncertainty, not least because the decline in production coincided with falling confidence and the start of significant trade rhetoric from the United States.”

“Even though export growth is still positive, business surveys have been pointing to a contraction in orders from abroad.”

“While export growth has remained positive up to now, weaker production of intermediates used for exports indicates that weaker gross exports could well be on the cards over the summer months.”

“While the outlook for industry is clouded by quite a few mixed signals, sluggish global demand and trade concerns are expected to drag on in the months ahead. That means a swift bounce back in manufacturing production is unlikely in the second half of the year and concerns about eurozone GDP growth remain significant at least for the remainder of 2019.”

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