The outlooks from purchasing managers - and the manufacturing sectors they represent - have been mixed in recent months, despite positive news about COVID-19 vaccine development, approval, and distribution. Any PMI survey reading above 50 indicates economic expansion. Japan recently reported that its manufacturing PMI reading in February was 46.3, a drop from 48 in the previous quarter. The Eurozone is also struggling, outside of Germany. The non-German economies in Europe recorded a 48.1 PMI in February, admittedly up from 45 last quarter but down from 51.7 in August. Nations that are less reliant on consumer services and have heavier exposure to industrial activity (such as Germany and the U.S.), have reported more stronger and more consistent PMI readings. The United Kingdom (improving quarter-over-quarter, as Brexit terms have been mostly resolved) is likely to move into a manufacturing growth phase in coming months. China has pulled back a bit, due to a slowing in exports as the dollar has declined. Still, manufacturing trends in China remain positive.
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