The growth rate of the global manufacturing sector continued to moderate at the end of 2014, with production and new orders both rising at the slowest pace in almost one-and-a-half years.
At 51.6 in December, down from 51.8 in November, the JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers' index) – a composite index produced by JPMorgan and Markit, the London-based index firm – posted its lowest level since August 2013.
Global manufacturing production rose for the twenty-sixth successive month in December. North America remained the prime driver of the expansion, as growth stayed relatively muted in both the eurozone and Asia.
There were also signs of further slowing in North America, however, as rates of output expansion eased in both the US (11-month low) and Canada (three-month low). The trend held up better in Mexico, with growth accelerating to a two-year high.
Among the Asian manufacturing economies, Indonesia and South Korea all reported contractions of production, while China stagnated. India continued to perform strongly, with growth hitting a two-year peak, and a modest expansion was also seen in Japan (according to flash PMI data).
Eurozone manufacturing production rose only marginally and at the weakest pace during the current one-and-a-half year sequence of expansion. Solid growth in Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands, alongside mild expansions in Germany, Austria and Greece were partly offset by accelerated rates of contraction in France and Italy.
Elsewhere, growth slowed in the UK and Turkey, Russia stagnated and Brazil contracted.
Commenting on the survey, David Hensley, director of Global Economics Coordination at JPMorgan, said: "The global PMI showed signs of stabilization in December after having pulled back from a more elevated level at midyear. Notably, output gains have bucked the downtrend in the PMI, gaining speed in recent months. The near-term outlook for production is positive, as the slide in oil prices boosts household purchasing power and retail sales."
The Global Report on Manufacturing is compiled by Markit is based on the results of surveys covering over 10,000 purchasing executives in 32 countries.