Manufacturing Activity Is Heating Up Across Asia, But Contracting Sharply In Europe

Business Insider

HEADS UP: The world's biggest economies are releasing their March manufacturing PMI reports Sunday through Tuesday. And this is our scorecard.

So far, the reports reflect acceleration in Asia's manufacturing sector.

China's official manufacturing PMI report climbed to 50.9 in March, down from 50.1.  Economists where expecting a reading of 52.0.

Last month, some weak economic numbers had some China watchers wondering if the world's second largest economy may be heading for a hard landing.  An increasing PMI should quell some of those concerns.

Europe, meanwhile, continues to be a mess, and all signs suggest its economies deteriorated in March.

In the U.S., where economic numbers have been so strong, manufacturing appears to have decelerated a bit. Still, the numbers point toward growth.

PMI

At the beginning of each month, Markit, HSBC, RBC, JP Morgan and several other major data gathering institutions publish the latest local readings of the manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for countries around the world.

PMI is one of the best leading indicators of the economy. 

Each reading is based on surveys of hundreds of companies. Read more about it at Markit.

These are not the most closely followed data points.  However, the power of the insights is unparalleled. Jim O'Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, believes the PMI numbers are among the most reliable economic indicators in the worldBlackRock's Russ Koesterich thinks it's one of the most underrated indicators.

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