Euro-Area Growth Heads for Strong Finale in Year of Uncertainty
Euro-area economic momentum accelerated to its fastest pace in over six years in November, setting the scene for a buoyant end to a year that saw political wobbling across much of the region. A Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing and services rose to 57.5 in November, IHS Markit said on Tuesday. That’s up from 56.0 in October and matches a Nov. 23 flash estimate. Output was bolstered by booming manufacturing, which only saw one stronger expansion in the 20-year survey history. “Business as a whole in the euro zone has so far been largely unaffected by political uncertainty in many countries, notably Germany and Spain, once again defying widespread expectations that growth would slow,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at the London-based company. “Given the strength of order-book growth and hiring, as well as the elevated level of business optimism, the euro zone should start the new year on a solid footing.” Neither German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s struggle to form a governing coalition nor Catalonia’s vote to separate from Spain have left significant marks on the 19-nation euro economy so far, which is heading for its best annual performance in a decade. Supported by monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank, the bloc is enjoying its most synchronized expansion since before the single currency was founded.
U.S. trade deficit rises to nine-month high in October
The U.S. trade deficit increased more than expected in October, hitting a nine-month high as rising oil prices helped to boost the import bill, suggesting that trade could be a drag on growth in the fourth quarter. The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade gap widened 8.6 percent to $48.7 billion. That was the highest level since January and followed an upwardly revised $44.9 billion shortfall in September. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade deficit widening to $47.5 billion in October after a previously reported $43.5 billion deficit the prior month. When adjusted for inflation, the trade deficit increased to $65.3 billion, also the largest since January, from $62.2 billion in September. The so-called real trade deficit in October was above the third-quarter average of $62.0 billion. That suggests trade could subtract from gross domestic product in the October-December quarter, if the deficit does not shrink in the last two months of the year. The chronic trade deficit has garnered the attention of Republican President Donald Trump, who has blamed it for the massive loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs as well as moderate economic growth.
China’s services sector grows at stronger pace in Nov: Caixin PMI
Growth in China’s services sector activity picked up to a three-month high in November, buoyed by a solid rise in new business, though the rate of expansion remained moderate and weaker than the long-run trend, a private survey showed on Tuesday. The upbeat findings broadly echo those of an official gauge of the non-manufacturing sector last week that showed activity accelerated at a faster rate in November, reinforcing the view that an expected slowdown in the broader economy would be gradual. The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 51.9 in November, up from 51.2 in October and the highest reading since August. A reading above 50 indicates growth, and any lower signals contraction on a monthly basis. The index had plunged to 21-month low in September after hitting a three-month high in August. New business also grew at the fastest pace in three months, with survey respondents reporting sales were supported by the addition of new clients and promotional activities. Companies slightly picked up the pace of new hiring as a result.