Earlier today, European Central Bank commissioner Ewald Nowotny warned that the euro zone recession in 2013 could be even worse than the -0.1% growth expected. A slew of preliminary data from this month’s Purchasing Managers Index data, which measures business activity, suggest Nowotny’s right.
That hints that, as we expected, the interest rate cut from the ECB isn’t helping—something that Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, which publishes the PMI data, calls out as well. “The ECB’s quarter-point cut in interest rates seems to have done little to inspire confidence that the economy will start to pick up again,” wrote Williamson (pdf). “[R]ecovery remains a long way off still and…policymakers need to do more to stem the downturn and revive growth.” Here’s a roundup of the charts illustrating that gloomy outlook:
The contraction comes as new business orders nosedived and manufacturers slashed prices by the most since January 2010. Weighing the core against the periphery, Germany is stagnating, while France continues to slide:
In Germany, headcount shrunk for the first time in since January:
In general, though, Germany’s May business activity looked weak but stable (pdf), and a delayed pickup in construction activity should boost overall Q2 outlook:
France’s PMI was steady as well—steadily awful, that is. This hints that “another drop in GDP could well be on the cards” in Q2, said Markit’s Jack Kennedy (pdf):
French private-sector payroll numbers continues to deteriorate, particularly in manufacturing, which typically employs around 13% of workers: